It’s gotta be free…

This won’t come as a shock to anybody whose been studying internet life and trends for awhile: free is the way to be (duh). That’s the conclusion of executives at a panel at the Software & Information Industry Association’s 2006 summit in New York this week. The event was reported in MediaDailyNews.

“On the Internet, it’s going to be very, very tough to get people to pay for things that are already available free,” said panelist Dennis Miller, a managing partner at Spark Capital, a venture capital firm focusing on media, entertainment, and technology.

Miller cited illegal file-sharing and the early, easy availability of free news and entertainment content as creating a culture where netizens have from the beginning expected content for free.

And the culture is unlikely to change, said panelist Mike Kelly, president of AOL’s Media Networks–so content providers will have to find other ways to monetize. “Free is one of the concepts that’s here to stay,” he said. “Consumers like free, so you’d better find a way to monetize.”

Don’t you just love the “gosh darn it, we HAD our chance” meme that’s evident here?

While I think there will be increasing and viable options to pay down-the-road, I really do agree with this summary. The net is a dynamic place for advertising, and where the option is advertising versus pay, I’d go with advertising.

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