Bankruptcy by a thousand subscriptions

Okay so much to the dismay of freetards around the world questions about the idea of “freenomics” is being called into question. Even the Gray Lady of New York is planning on sending their free model to the bush league and returning to a paywall.

Subscription economy looks to be the new buzzword which probably has Murdoch drooling with visions of vaults of gold coins.

Suddenly the Web just got a whole lot more expensive.

Brian Barrett over at Gizmodo gives an interesting breakdown of how expensive it is for a lot of people already and that isn’t even taking into account what it will be like after the arrival of the subscription economy.

Nick Carr summed it up quite nicely

It’s a strange world we live in. We begrudge the folks who actually create the stuff we enjoy reading, listening to, and watching a few pennies for their labor, and yet at the very same time we casually throw hundreds of hard-earned bucks at the saps who run the stupid networks through which the stuff is delivered. We screw the struggling artist, and pay the suit.

Somebody’s got a good thing going.

So what kind of effect will the subscription economy have?

Well consider all those main sources of news that we all gravitate to right now. The Wall Street Journals, the New York Times, The LA Times, MSNBC, Fox News and probably about a half dozen more spread out through our reading day. Now let’s assume that they fall for this subscription economy and they all want a piece of your wallet each month it won’t be long before all those little digs into your wallet start to add up.

Just as freenomics may not seem a sustainable business model neither is the subscription model. At some point the accumulation of subscriptions will prove to be too costly for the masses (which are precisely the one’s needed to make this model work) to afford. At this point whatever upswing the content producers have seen as far as income will begin to slide back down.

There is a breaking point of the number of subscriptions that we are willing – and able – to support. That number however is nowhere the numbers needed by those dependent on the subscription model to remain viable.