Passing Scene: Is Giving It Away A Bad Thing?

Dan Ambrose “refudiates” long-held beliefs that giving away content on the Internet accounts for the serious drops in print pubs circulation and revenue. Headlined “Wrong All Along” in Online Publishing Insider, Ambrose says, “When we study things closely, the ‘giveaway-equals-decline’ cause and effect simply hasn’t explained the successes and failures in the media community. Some magazines and newspapers with the most aggressive audience-building, offer-it-free Internet strategies have been the same properties that have the strongest circulations.” He cites a report by Guardian editor Peter Preston that new research supports the contention that “giving away content doesn’t reduce demand!” Ambrose reasons that the proliferation of media piece-meals the market but “When more people consume a free article online, it builds the brand for offline demand.”

The Truth About Cars editor Edward Niedermeyer relayed a report from Carscoop that Fiat is suing an Italian TV show for its remarks about the Alfa Romeo MiTo Quadrifoglio. Apparently Fiat feels the show’s mixing of earlier and new comparison test data was unfair and thereby “defamed the MiTo.” TTAC is familiar with car manufacturer’s ire but, to AWCom’s knowledge, has yet to be sued by one. Niedermeyer, understandably, thinks suing is a step backwards for industry-media relations.

Gavin O’Malley reports in Media Post, “As planned, AOL’s hyper-local news network Patch has launched its 500th Web site.” They are all similar in look and style but, quoting Bizjournals’ Portfolio, “Each one is staffed by an editor devoted to writing about the people and businesses in that community.” The Patch network is growing rapidly. It began 2010 with 30 websites. . . . John ‘Jay’ Lamm has opened an online store for the “lazy, tasteless” fans of his 24 Hours of LeMons racing series. By clicking, they can access, “the ever-growing pile of shirts, hats, posters and sweatshop-made schlock from our Pirelli Calendarraces…without leaving their Lazy Boy. The goodies also include the usual LeMons-cheap helmets, race suits and harnesses, etc.” . . . At the other extreme is Pirelli’s unveiling in Moscow of its always impressive calendar before celebrities, dignitaries from the arts and business plus politicians turned statesmen and stateswomen for the evening. This year’s calendar, featuring some of the world’s top models, was designed by Karl Lagerfeld and it is art (really dear, it’s art).