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Yes you misunderstood. There are many different “free” models and freemium is but one.
With regard to the problems with freemium in the media – paywalls will only work if they can effectively articulate content value to subscribers. The challenge for big media is that technology has liberated news and journalism. Anyone with a mobile phone, HD camera, youtube, high traffic blog etc can now provide relevant news to a global audience.
The monopoly on who delivers news and media (traditionally big companies) and how we consume it (traditionally through TV and print) has gone. I don’t think that’s so much about google or big business but rather about our use of new technology in general. This will only continue so technology risk management in business is critical (on a strategic medium to long term level).