Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Attention Economy

Michael Erard has a great post up entitled "A Short Manifesto on the Future of Attention," which deconstructs the advertising market and media saturation from an orthogonal perspective. It's particularly timely in light of recent news, namely:
A) Murdoch is serious about news content going behind a paywall. He's appointed a Chief Digital Officer to look into the matter.
B) The blogosphere is awash in commentary about newspaper paywall collusion.
C) The ad market remains soft (too many ads, not enough audience to sustain multiple media outlets.)

What I particularly like is his thinking about products and pricing organized around how much attention you care to spend on them:

A quote:

Imagine attention-based pricing, in which prices of information commodities are inversely adjusted to the cognitive investment of consuming them. All the candy for the human brain — haiku, ringtones, bumper stickers — would be priced like the luxuries that they are. Things requiring longer attention spans would be cheaper — they might even be free, and the higher fixed costs of producing them would be covered by the higher sales of the short attention span products. Single TV episodes would be more expensive to purchase than whole seasons, in the same way that a six-pack of Oreos at the gas station is more expensive, per cookie, than a whole tray at the grocery store.

Perhaps an idea whose time has come.

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