Barry Diller: Paywalls Will Work … Eventually

IAC chairman weighs in on paid content

Barry Diller, IAC chairman, sat down with Bloomberg Television to talk about paywalls. His take? They’ll work … eventually. In the short term, however, "all this stuff is going to jumble around awkwardly for the next years."

Here are some highlights, via Romenesko:

>> Diller on free content:

"[Free content] will end because now so many people are used to paying for applications, whether they pay 99 cents or whether they pay for a tune, or they pay 99 cents to play Solitaire, or $4.95 to do this or $2.95 to do that, or one kind of one stop, very simple to do. That in these little form factors, first with the iPhone and now the iPad and dozens of other devices that will come, this is naturally going to evolve. It’s got this legacy of this mythology. But it will end."

>> On the New York Times’ paywall:

"I just think it’s great that everybody is beginning to push now because that’s part of the inevitability and it’s part of the evolution — is the content owners are beginning to push. I think they are going to get lots of resistance. Part of it is this mythology. Eventually, absolutely [it will work]."

“I think they’ll (NYT) succeed eventually, not this time around. This is going to be an evolution. It’s going to take years for the pricing to get in line, for the form factors to get in line, for consumer habits to develop, for one click, one ease path of pricing, one completion of the order to happen. All this stuff is going to jumble around awkwardly for the next years."

>> On the iTunes model:

"The last development of note was the music business. Here was the music business, everything was being stolen. Everything was deemed free even though the technology allowed it to be stolen. Everyone said, no one will pay for music. It took seven or eight years for the iTunes concept … and now it’s a multibillion business. People are paying for music, they could get it free, but they’re paying for it."

>> On whether the charging for content will work:

"Oh eventually. Absolutely. It’s just, these are, these are areas, these are industries so to speak that are going to push to say our content is, we think it’s valuable at this. Steve Jobs did this in music. He said music is for 99 cents and he changed everything. Because he said I’m going to price it so low, that everyone is going to adopt it. So the same will happen."

More to read:

What It Will Take for Paid Content to Work