CNN to start charging for web video.
March 20, 2002 10:24 AM   Subscribe

CNN to start charging for web video.
Is this the beginning of the end for the "free" web, or will this just kill off all of the greedheads whilst letting the web develop at a more natural, evolutionary pace?
posted by jpburns (12 comments total)
if i had a dime for every time someone fretted over the end of the free web, i could make several long-distance phone calls using 10-10-220.
posted by moz at 10:26 AM on March 20, 2002

Why in the world would anyone *pay* to see a herky-jerky, postage-stamp sized CNN, when they can meander over to the nearest TV and get the real deal? P.T. Barnum was right: there's a sucker born every minute.
posted by mrmanley at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2002

The freeweb is going underground. It's going to become difficult for people to find free sites through search engines or link hubs that are owned or operated through a corporate entity. Virtual social groups will only share with one another and one will have to network and research to find good free stuff. Big portals will strive to redirect the masses to sites that require charges for more information. So the less effort one puts into being net savvy, the more they're going to have to pay.

The free web is still out there and will continue to be, but it's gonna take jumping through a few more hoops to find it. It's just as well. Anyone who only uses CNN for their news fix deserves to have to pay extra.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:42 AM on March 20, 2002

If free content on the Web were actually coming to an end, it started long, long ago, and this is nothing but another in a long series of offline content providers trying to charge for their online exploits.

Fortunately, 99.9% of the Internet will remain freely accessible while some of these larger name companies drive their readership into the ground via pay-for-play tactics. I see no reason for anyone to be concerned about this.
posted by Danelope at 10:53 AM on March 20, 2002

I could almost (only almost) understand this charge, if they were actually offering both a live broadband stream and on-demand broadband streams of recent programs. But as I understand it, they're only going to be offering things like 2-minute news burps updated once an hour or so, and stuff like that, at mediocre bit rates. That's just insane.

ZachsMind is absolutely right. I already know of a pirated live Fox News Channel 1Mbps feed that popped up after they pulled their lousy 56k video stream. (No, I'm not telling. I'll trade, though, for a live stream of another news network, American or UK.)
posted by aaron at 10:56 AM on March 20, 2002

well, that's twice today i've seen p.t. barnum quoted for something he never said.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2002

Why in the world would anyone *pay* to see a herky-jerky, postage-stamp sized CNN

Agreed. Personally I hate when I accidently click what turns out to be a video link on a news site. Invariably it results in a slow loading, ineffective piece of video rehash of stale news with NO advantage taken of the VIDEO format to convey additional information!
posted by HTuttle at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2002

What Barnum actually said:

"I said that the people like to be humbugged when, as in my case, there is no humbuggery except that which consists in throwing up sky-rockets and issuing flaming bills and advertisements to attract public attention to shows which all acknowledge are always clean, moral, instructive, elevating, and give back to their patrons in every case several times their money's worth."

Which somehow no longer seems quite applicable, since you certainly won't be getting your money's worth with CNN.
posted by UnReality at 11:45 AM on March 20, 2002

The end of free began on March 9.
posted by rcade at 12:02 PM on March 20, 2002

A lot of important video (news or TV) seems to find itself ripped off the TV and made accessible via file-trading tools. Now, if companies could produce exciting, innovative content - maybe I'd pay. But CNN, sheesh, it's not as if those guys do anything groundbreaking is it?
posted by skinsuit at 3:46 PM on March 20, 2002

What's particularly funny about this is that's video has always been among the worst quality of any major website. I can't watch Cnet's videos at full screen on a high-speed connection and it's at least as good as TV.

The results of CNN's much touted partnership with Akamai are nowhere to be found.
posted by stevengarrity at 5:13 PM on March 20, 2002

As long as there are people committed to making free web content, there will be a free web. It might be a little harder to find, but that's the very purpose of sites like metafilter: to point out and discuss interesting or useful web content. In my experience, the commercial web has neither been sleeker nor faster, and hasn't always tended to produce the most interesting content either.

The whole idea of the "end of free" site always makes me chuckle. Are they planning to still be paying to host that sucker when I'm 80, or will they have gone over to a subscription model?
posted by walrus at 3:21 AM on March 21, 2002

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