After reading my “No More Free Content” post, a colleague observed (in an email) that information consumers “pay” for content with both attention (”monetized and sold to advertisers”) and “direct payment to content producers.” [Note: there is no direct payment for broadcast TV, radio and alternative papers like The Seattle Weekly or The Stranger.]
This colleague believes that the challenge facing newspapers is not a “paid vs. free” issue. Instead, the challenge is the ratio of “monetized” attention to direct reader payment.
Attention (monetized or otherwise) is finite, limited. For example, if I only have 40 minutes or so for “TV,” if I choose to watch DoctorWho, then I can’t watch Lost. (I know it’s an hour-long show; we have a DVR and skip commercials. Also, see opportunity cost.)