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Jan. 23, 2009, 6:48 a.m.

Morning Links: January 23, 2009

— The economics of free: When Monty Python put some of their videos on YouTube recently, “their DVDs also quickly climbed to No. 2 on Amazon’s Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent,” YouTube reports. As Merlin Mann puts it:

It’s stunning to me how much opportunity there is in giving [things!] away. But, it’s approximately twice as stunning how few people really understand how powerful (and indisputable) that simple fact of modern life is. Evolution is going to become unimaginably painful for any company that thinks they can somehow wait reality out with a crooked smile and a room full of lawyers. Insane.

Something to think about when we think about subscription or other users-pay models for news. Our problem isn’t giving it away — it’s that we don’t have an equivalent to Monty Python DVDs for that smaller group of people who are happy to pay for something more than what’s free.

— TechCrunch says YouTube will soon let videomakers sell their own ads to be attached to their videos. That’s a big deal: That lets news organizations use their substantial sales force to sell video ads, but gives them access to the massive distribution channel that is the largest video site in the universe. Could be a winning combination — and assuming the numbers work out, I’d expect lots of news orgs to jump on board as soon as Google will let them.

— Mark Briggs writes about how journalism organizations need to change with the business.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email ( or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Jan. 23, 2009, 6:48 a.m.
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