Today, a lot of content is already free. Whereas, some LOOKS free while in reality it is not. Based on its price, there are three main types of content:
1. Free content – the quality of this free content can vary from highly professional to poor. This free content is being created for different reasons:
- a) Content created by amateurs for the pleasure of creating it. If you share your family pictures on Flickr or if you write a blog about your bird-watching hobby, you are creating content for pleasure.
- b) Content created by professionals for motives other than money – prestige, recognition, need to share etc. This is the category into which most blogs fall, written by professionals related to their work – like the blog you are reading right now. Also, content created under the Creative Commons license falls into this category.
- c) Content created by professionals to directly promote other products or services. This includes any marketing web site, catalog or advertisement which may be some of the most costly content assets of all, considering the high production and placement costs.
- d) Content originaly created by professionals as premium content, but with copyrights either expired or donated into the public domain. This content includes all the works of old masters such as copyright-free e-books or classical music.
- a) Content that seems free but you pay for indirectly, with your time and attention. It includes any free content that is subsidized by advertizing. Most news and magazine media sites are financed this way which is not surprising as that's exactly what they do in the physical world.
- b) Content created by professionals in the pursuit of money. This content doesn't have a direct price but the indirect price in form of labor cost can be quite high and is paid with the expectation that it enables a revenue stream. This is about office documents, emails, spreadsheets, PowerPoint decks that the knowledge workers create, share, and consume every day.
As we can see, not all content that looks free is really free. And not all content that is created by professionals is premium content. All the content (well, at least most of it) has value, all of it has cost of creation but not all of it costs money.