The good old Internet. The best thing about it—other than the instant access to a world of great
information—is that all that access has traditionally been free. Correct? It’s been a boom for rich media marketing, becoming a great way to engage with millions of users as they search and digest content.

But things are already changing. The future of the Internet is looking more like a great Paywall is coming.

What does a Paywall mean? And what does it mean for rich media production?

Paywall refers to a barricade between content and a company’s potential customers as the model shifts away from advertising supported free content to subscription and pay per view models online.

This means less space for Rich Media Banners advertising—or any digital advertising—as the content no longer requires it. This new future of the Internet really started in 2013 as more and more providers started investigating subscription and pay per view models for their programing.

What’s driving this change in the free Internet model? It all comes down to viewership. Basically there has been a major decline in audience numbers for the traditional big-boy media outlets for years.  Newspapers have been declining for a decade, and new tablets and digital devices have had the same impact on magazines and books.

Viewership is increasingly fragmented for providers, which has had many of them scrambling. And while the online outlets for these traditional media outlets has been free for years, many of these outlets now need to implement some sort of pay as you go or subscription model in order to continue providing the kind of high quality content that viewers are demanding.

What does this mean for consumers, brands and rich media ads marketing providers? For customers basically it means more fragmentation for the media outlets, but it’s not a devastating scenario for marketers.

It’s already being seen that viewers who can not—or will not—pay for content online
are already giving up premium online providers to find free content.

That means free content sites are poised to flourish and will demand more advertising to pay for the content they provide.

Brands can help keep content free—by subsidizing content

For savvy brands who don’t want to fragment their audience and pay higher CPM for their rich media marketing, one smart idea if for forward thinking brands would be to subsidize a lot of the content their customers are interested in so that it remains free.
Regardless of how things play out for the Internet in the future, rich media marketing will need to get smarter and more engaging to compete in this smaller marketplace and provide better results or content sites that depend on rich media and other Responsive Ads to boost their bottom line.

Rich Media Vendors will continue to drive results that brands will need

As pay per view content providers start seeing a decline in audience numbers, free providers will benefit from a growing fan base. For companies looking for the most eyeballs on their service, innovative rich media marketing and providers.

What’s your thought on the future of the Internet? Will you be ready with the rich media solutions you need?