With so much free content available online, traditional media companies are tying themselves in knots trying to find a way to translate their businesses to the web. There was a grudging consensus among one set of panelists at Ad:tech NY conference today that although there’s no competing with free, it doesn’t mean you can’t make money. For the most, part, reps from Condé Nast, Forbes, A&E and The Weather Channel suggested that publishers don’t have to completely give up their reach-and-frequency-based models, but they do have to diversify their revenue streams considerably. In any case, it’s mostly about survival now, as there is still no replacement on the horizon for the old methods.
The question of free versus paid was posed by the panel’s moderator, Patrick Moorhead, Razorfish’s director of Emerging Media, who noted he gets Hulu and Huffington Post for free and asked why should bother with a website that puts up a paywall?
Josh Stinchcomb, publisher at Condé Nast Digital, referred to fellow CN exec Chris Anderson’s “fremium” philosophy, though he didn’t completely endorse the concept. Stinchcomb: “My colleague Chris would say you shouldn