Future Choice: Free Legal Downloads ... For Ads
December 21, 2007 at 10:39 AM (PT)
MICROSOFT has applied for a patent on technology that could give legit digital music consumers a new choice: Pay 99 cents for one track ... or get it for free after watching advertisements.
According to ARSTECHNICA.CO, the technology would "enforce" playback of advertisements in downloaded media. This way, a file, be it for music, video or anything else, could not be played unless the accompanying advertising is viewed. Such technology could radically alter the current business model for online media retail.
Cases-in-point: Instead of paying $1.99 for a TV show off APPLE's iTUNES store, consumers can get it at a discount or for free by viewing advertising. Instead of paying 99 cents for a DRM track off iTUNES, you get it for free -- and instead of paying $1.29 for a DRM-free track, get it at a fraction of the cost by viewing ads.
As long as the amount of advertising on each file isn't objectionable by consumers, this could fuel legal online media sales --and not just from the current clientele. Those who illegally download would now have the option of getting their product for free without the fear of ever being snared by the RIAA. Obviously, it would be foolhardy to expect everyone who illegally downloads to suddenly stop doing that just to get ad-supported free music or video. Yet for every one who does switch is one more new revenue source -- and the more people who view the ads, the more the content provider and charge for them.
Read the entire story here.