Sigh. People make the internet so complicated sometimes. Far more than need be.
Instead of learning and focusing on what the internet is and what it is here to do, business is fixated on small trends that are no more relevant than bell bottom jeans being popular in the 70s. Most of ideas that companies are following are either too late or too early to the market as a result. There is larger picture that tells everything that you need to know but unfortunately, nobody is looking at it.
You can't blame anybody. Adapting to a new platform is hard.
But, this doesn't change what is certain. Like, that by design, the internet seeks to converge all of our existing communications infrastructure (like TV, phones, etc.). It means specific things will happen in the market. For example, user behavior will adjust and change in the years to come, and in many ways make it easier to do business. Eventually, consumers will want to make their internet consumption and activity experience more personalized and convenient. They'll want higher quality everything (or not) -- it'll all be driven by personal taste and choice just as content, services, and products are in society.
I also believe that people will be willing to pay for premium content online, as everyone has with TV, newspapers and magazines for many years.
Yet, oddly, media and entertainment companies are training users the opposite direction at the moment. It's in part because there's confusion about what to do. But, tere just isn't enough advertising money to support what it takes to create things to entertain or inform an audience. Good content sells but it takes money and time to make. That's why subscription models have always worked over platforms for decades in time.
Plenty of companies are succeeding with paid content models now on the internet. It can be access to things or people, like Backstage West or LinkedIn in-mail have been, or content and information -- Wall Street Journal, etc.
I don't know why anybody would want to take down a working revenue source, or why there aren't more discussions about creating meaningful alternative revenue streams.
Consumers will likely be willing to pay for content online if it brings something of value to them. But, like I said, everyone can take the long way around.