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RAIN 6/15: Wired editor says era of free online content is here to stay

Posted on: 06/15/2009

WIRED’S ANDERSON: WEB CONTENT WILL BE FREE WHERE MARGINAL COST IS ZERO

IAC chief and former Fox and Paramount exec Barry Diller said last week that the era of free online (“an accident of historical moment”) is coming to an end (RAIN coverage here), but Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson doesn’t see things the same way. “If you don’t do it, someone else will. Because they can. If it’s not zero today, it will be zero tomorrow.”

Anderson calls this the “law of gravity online,” meaning that the digital product should be free because the marginal cost for producing digital products is free. “Anything that becomes digital will become free,” he said at Wired’s Disruptive by Design business conference. “Not to say that everything online will be free, but that everything will be available in a free version, so that fundamentally, you’re either going to be competing with free or you’re going to be making a product free and selling something else.” For more, check out Wired’s coverage here.

FBI INVESTIGATING COMPANIES BEHIND CHICAGO SPORTS NET RADIO STATION WEBIO

The FBI searched the offices of NextStep Medical Staffing and NextStep Financial on Friday, companies owned by David Hernandez who also owns the parent company of Chicago sports Internet radio station Webio, Spectrum Entertainment. Webio is a sports talk online-only web stream, launched last year. On the same day as the FBI investigation, Hernandez fired former CBS Radio on-air personality Mike North from his SVP post at Webio. North is still a co-host of “Monsters of the Morning” on Comcast SportsNet, which is primarily sponsored by Hernandez’s NextStep Medical Staffing.

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal learned from North that Spectrum’s checks to employees were bouncing in recent weeks. Hernandez said the investigation is because of a “disgruntled ex-employee who I caught misappropriating funds,” and that the bounced checks could be a result of the FBI freezing the companies’ assets. “I know what my overhead expenses vs. revenues are…we’re absolutely in a profit,” Hernandez said. For more on the story, check out Rosenthal’s coverage in the Chicago Tribune here or the Chicago Sun-Times’ coverage here.

STUDY FINDS MOST iPHONE USERS OVER 35, NEARLY ALL USE DATA SERVICES

A new survey of iPhone users by Nielson found that that there are 6.4 million active iPhone users in the U.S. (last year, there were only 2.1 million). Of those users, 53% are 35 years old or older. 98% use data services on the iPhone, while 37% watch videos. Head to Nielson’s blog here for more on their iPhone survey.

FORMER MICHIGAN TALK HOSTS MOVING TO INTERNET

Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis, formerly radio personalities on WLHT in Grand Rapids, MI, are relaunching their show online. The show takes the form of a podcast and can be accessed through iTunes or on the duo’s website (here). It will focus on pop culture and local events in Michigan. For more, check out WZZM-13’s coverage here.



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