Give Away the Digital Razors, Sell the Digital Blades

From the beginning, was about chronicling the move from free to paid in digital media, so it’s always fun for us to find ways publishers are straddling the line. The IHT reports on how Electronic Arts, bowing to the reality of “rampant” videogame piracy in South Korea, released a recent soccer game for free there and has been building a good business on add-ons: think of it as a videogame riff on the old razor-and-blades concept. The IHT uses EA’s move as a news hook to explore the many diffferent ways companies are adjusting to the new realities. Examples include AOL, Joost, Spiral Frog, and other companies who have been covered here regularly. If you’re new to the world of digital media, it’s a good, broad primer. For the rest of us, on a Friday afternoon, it’s a good reminder of how much this business has changed, along with some useful statistics:
— “According to a survey of 130 media executives from around the world, conducted recently by Accenture, 31 percent forecast that subscription models would be the dominant business model in five years’ time, with 25 percent opting for so-called pay-per-play funding.”
The inevitable money quote comes from Kenneth Parks, COO of Brilliant Technologies: “Free is the new paid.” He’s not the first to come up with that line.

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