Edutainment & Convergence Today
The Official Scholarly and Entertainment Blog of Edutainment & Convergence

The Free Model Plus The Hybrid Model = 21st Century Success

By Dr. Chris A. Heidelberg, III Publisher  &  Executive Producer

First of all, I am extremely excited about finally posting after testing the Edutainment & Convergence methods that I developed in the classroom and in the real world of business. You can expect to see postings at least three times per week. In keeping with the orginal intent of this site, I will continue to post research from myself and others. You will see interviews, opinion editorials, research interviews, predictions and product comparisions and more! Now, let’s get on with the show for today!

If one truly desires to understand web 2.0 and how it has transformed the global economy, education, politics, information and entertainment, the book Free by Chris Anderson (2009) is an appropriate place to start. Free is the second book from Anderson on how the Internet and convergence technologies are transforming the marketplace of products, services, ideas and performances. In his first book, The Long Tail (2006), Anderson describes how products with limited shelf lives in the past like music, books, and films can now have long lives because of the devotion of fans across the globe for years.

This is possible because of digital files that enable individuals to view photos, listen to music or audio or to view video on handheld devices like the iPodTouch, the iPhone or any handheld device (Anderson, 2006). One of the results of this was the illegal downloading of music and video by consumers worldwide much to the chagrin of the media conglomerates who own the intellectual property rights of these media.

In Free, Anderson (2009) points out  the history of the concept of free as a marketing tool to get people to buy everything from Jell O to disposable razors from  Gillette after receiving everything from cook books for Jell O to sample razors. In fact, Anderson (2009) discusses how companies like Google are consistently beating competitors and entire industries through the use of the free concept as an economic model. Google was able utilize its search engine and more recently its video search engine on YouTube to develop loyal audiences by giving away free content in exchange for advertising place next to or within the actual  content. Google is now giving away its mobile operating system, Android,  in smart phones like the Droid and the Hero (Google, 2009).  Moreover, Google is now giving away its Chrome Internet browser  for free too!

The publishing industry and the entertainment industry are suffering tremendous financial losses because of their strict adherence to a Twentieth century model for economic success: the direct pay model. The print industry, especially newspapers, has been driven by advertising more than direct sales in most cases, but instead of adopting the free model or even adopting a hybrid model old media is still suing its customers and not changing its business model (Anderson, 2009).  In the Twenty first century, the free method enables companies both and large and small to make money with Google as an advertising partner and strategic ally. While Apple used the hybrid economic model of pay media and free media in the form of podcasts,  Google has used YouTube, gmail, its free cloud based office software that rivals microsoft, and its Chrome Internet browser to obtain more advertising and other revenues during the time of a worldwide recession.

One can only hope that the print, telecommunications and broadcast media finally see the handwriting on the wall and adopt the free economic model as suggested by Anderson.




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