Thursday, April 28, 2005

eMeta Introduces "Calling Plan" Pricing for Content and Services

eMeta Corporation has announced enhanced functionality for its ecommerce capabilities that allows publishers and online service providers "utility pricing" models that will allow them to collect for content on a usage bases within a number of flexibly defined plans, similar to the "calling plans" implemented by telcos for their services. This tier of content payment is long overdue for exploitation in publishing, allowing content providers and providers of related services and software to allow users to pay for content on a unit basis in a way that makes its "pay per view" consumption painless and proportional to their real valuation of a service. Like phone calling plans, the right packaging within this model can allow readers and users to get "hooked" on the value of a source for a low minimum and have nominal incremental revenues that are enough to satisfy publishers and small enough to still encourage vigorous use - or upgrade to more robust subscription plans.

The "calling plan" model could also be very compatible with content repurposing and redistribution schemes, allowing users to push content to where other people's clicks could activate the same payment mechanism, in theory. Thus instead of hanging on for unrealistic pricing of pay-per-view articles (does anyone really want to pay half a magazine price for one news article?) content could be quickly monetized on a per-click basis and then spread like wildfire through redistribution and weblog links to others who will value it and click on it in the immediate moment and context. There are many types of companies that can win in this scenario, if they're willing to look at their subscription and redistribution agreements and try on this potentially powerful new model. It's likely to favor first those with little to lose and everything to gain in the new model, such as new presences in online music and gaming, but keep you eye on this as a model that can impact core business content sooner than you may think.
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