What the market will, and wont, bear

QUT research demonstrates content providers will charge what they can – until the market says no more

Nicolas Suzor, Tess Van Geelen, Kylie Pappalardo, Jean Burgess, Patrik Wikström and Yanery Ventura-Rodriguez from QUT have run the numbers on Australians’ digital access to US films and music, games and TV to discover owners will charge more for less when they can.

This can be no big deal, Australians don’t pay much more than Americans for a US TV ep or it can be a very big one – Australian consumers can pay $40 more than in the US for a game title.  And while access to films is better than TV, “there are still notable gaps.”

“For an Australian consumer who only wants to (or can only afford to) pay for one streaming service, this is bad news. A subscription with any of the major distributors will only get them access to less than half the titles available with the biggest distributor in the US. This means that consumers may have to take out two or three subscriptions in order to access a majority of the titles available in Australia,” they write.

One finding is especially interesting, – access to music here is much better;

“the vast majority of albums in our sample were available in both Australia and the US, with less than 10 percent of titles exclusive to one market. Australians enjoy cheaper prices across the board.”

Interesting that an industry that was on its way to pricing itself into failure is streaming content at a price the market will willingly bear.

Remind you of other content providers?

Toby Green from UNESCO  suggests green and gold open access models for research articles are both beaten by black OA, that pirate site Sci-Hub has made 60m research articles available. “If true, Sci-Hub has single-handedly won the race to make all journal articles open access.” So what, CMM wonders, can be done to protect the rights of researchers and the taxpayers who fund them?

“Only one actor is needed to start this process of unbundling: the publisher. In making a basic, legal version free for anyone to read, gratis open access is achieved at a stroke, and it would start to make the pirates redundant,” Mr Green writes.