There’s lots of talk at the moment about the financial meltdown and its effect on the technology industry. Online advertising revenues are drying up.
In tandem with that, the news industry is losing their ‘print’ revenue and so are forced to focus online. More and more people are using online resources to consume their news, and buying less newspapers… but making money online is difficult. Specifically, charging for online news is simply not ‘accepted’ by the Internet going public (essentially thanks to Google’s free-conomy).
The re-consideration of how to charge for online services is very appropriate to Ambisonia, ofcourse. This little TV segment is extremely interesting. Its a conversation between Walter Isaacson of “Time,” Robert Thomson of “Wall Street Journal” and Mort Zuckerman of “The New York Daily News. They discuss a number of things.
The current financial meltdown is potentially a good thing, as Nick Carr speculates, for the online service industry. If I understand him right, he is essentially saying that reduced online advertising revenue and reduced technology investment capital will effectively ‘cull’ the weaker businesses. This will reduce supply, and therefore increase the acceptable cost of good services. Perhaps paying for subscription services will now be viewed as more ‘acceptible’.
I hope so.
Some mornings I wake up and I think I cant really go from charging nothing on Ambisonia, to charging something … markets really really dont like that.
Other mornings I wake up and think, I simply cant keep Ambisonia going, with a family to support, a mortgage to pay, and (with children) an ever-dwindling availability of ‘free-time’. I have to be brutal and charge.
Ofcourse, what I am currently implementing is kind-of half way. Yes, I _am_ removing a free service (the distribution of *.amb files for free). But I am also introducing an other, much more accessible ‘free’ service … which is the ability to stream all content, for free, from the browser.
I think a likely scenario is that there will be a bit of disappointment amongst the community that they now have to pay a little for a yearly subscription, to download everything for free. But to counter-act that, there will be many new-comers … who will have accessed the streaming stuff, and will want to go a step further. And eventually, the community will understand that I just cant keep up *sweat equity* on Ambisonia, I habe no sweat left.
It is exciting times for me though. Once the commercial version of Ambisonia is launched I can finally let go of the years of struggling to put it together. If the site fails commercially, then I will officially let go of it, and be free of the shackles my commitment to it. If the site survives financially then that will be a huge boost to ambisonics, because it will finally be possible to make money using this technology (I’m not just talking about me, I’m also talking about the uploaders). Either way, its a win for me.