People will pay for content — consider cable TV

College Football’s Most Dominant Player? It’s ESPN — NYTimes.com.

The New York Times looks today at the influence ESPN has in college football — scheduling and the inspiration of conference realignments.

But this story illustrates a wider point. People will pay for content. But do people think of that cable subscription as part of their entertainment budgets or their budgets for news and information? (As if we Americans follow budgets!)

Can journalists figure out how to encourage people to pay for news in the way they pay for cable tv premium channels? There’s a lot of money out there:

Today, nearly 100 million households pay about $5.54 a month for ESPN, regardless of whether the subscribers watch it or not, whether they realize it or not. This year, ESPN will take in more than $6 billion in subscriber fees. Today, nearly 100 million households pay about $5.54 a month for ESPN, regardless of whether the subscribers watch it or not, whether they realize it or not. This year, ESPN will take in more than $6 billion in subscriber fees.

That’s a lot of money. The story points out what goes on within college football to get some of that money. But I still think the wider questions remain: What will people pay for, and why?

 

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