A Business Model for the Digital Age – Part III

The question facing the Entertainment industry is quite simple –  lock down content through DRM and punish everyone by default or keep content free from a technical restriction and punish those infringing on a corporate scale.

Just because you technologically can doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Technically you can seek to enforce proper speed limits  – and save lives – by getting into the engine in every car, but just try it! People accept a certain element of control, with speed limits and speed cameras, but it would be considered an assault on personal freedom to take the ultimate decision from the person behind the wheel. And this is with real lives and real consequences.

You have to have a massive mistrust of the consumer to not believe that ultimately they know the difference between right and wrong. In the 1980s you could get a copy of Microsoft Office with viral ease. Today all the same people happily hand over their cash to Microsoft by the truck load. Nobody ended up inherently believing that they had a right to free Microsoft Office products for life.

Why the Entertainment industry thinks that current crop of digitally-savvy, computer-literate consumers will end up believing that they will have a right to free content forever baffles me.

The way to approach this area is to follow Nolan’s Stages of Growth model: Initiation – Contagion – Control – Integration – Data Administration(read commercialisation) – Maturity

We are at the beginning of a new age and people just want to play and see how far they can stretch their creative muscles.

The time for moving further along the growth model comes when people start to realise that the tools they are playing with are more than just mere toys but commercially applicable components and outputs.

Relax people – when the time comes everyone will make lots of money. The real smart move now is to get your stuff out there for people to play with. There a whole new generation who just want to see where they can go with this digital idea – and most of them are doing it just for the sake of doing it. There is no point in trying to map your existing business models on to their behaviour. They’re just having fun!

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