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Environmental Scan of Pricing Models for Online ContentDarimont, Albert W. (2001-11)The objective of this research project was to perform an environmental scan of pricing models for online content that could help the OnDisC alliance formulate an effective ecommerce model. Towards this end a number of literature searches, interviews and web searches were performed. The research was directed in several areas to ensure that the results provided a broad context: e-business models in general and for electronic content in particular; the developments in the library field towards digitization in general and in the use of ejournals in particular; iscussions with specialists in a number of relevant fields; and a broad survey of content providers on the internet. The e-business literature revealed the breadth of different pricing models available and gave insight into the nature of price and market differentiation, which is an effective strategy for increasing the user base for digital content. An example of price differentiation is to sell the same product to two different kinds of users at different prices thereby maximizing overall revenue. Libraries have been at the forefront of technological changes for many decades, and much research has already been done on the potential for e-journals to greatly improve library service for academic institutions. Electronic journals allow for the dis-aggregation of journals and novel pricing schemes using bundling of articles and metered use (pay as you go). Libraries tend to like the flexibility and cost savings that these novel pricing schemes allow but there are disadvantages such as increased administrative overhead and the potential for metering to inhibit end users. The discussions with industry specialists and subsequent web searches revealed a number of content aggregators â organizations which accumulate digital content from a number of different providers for redistribution â which have moved beyond the stage of subsidized pilot project status towards operational independence. Background papers Environmental Scan of Pricing Models for Online Content and pricing schedules were found for JSTOR, AMICO (Art Museum Image Consortium), SCRAN (Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network) and ECO (Early Canadiana Online) which revealed that all of them use price differentiated academic institution subscriptions to generate revenue. Two of the four, JSTOR and ECO charge a one-time up-front fee to help pay for the cost of initial content digitizing. Web searches revealed a number of sites offering cultural and educational content in various formats including streaming video, audio, text, animation, images. Many of these sites generate revenue from banner advertising, affiliate eferrals, product sales, and donations as well as ubscriptions. Many pricing models are possible by ombining or blending the above revenue streams. The wide variety of cultural and educational content available on the web ttests to the effectiveness of these models.
Environmental Scan of Pricing Models for Online Content : Report II : Business Models for Object RepositoriesDarimont, Albert W. (2002-04)This report investigates Canadian and other initiatives in developing e-content stores or repositories with special interest paid to their business and revenue models for background in determining a suitable sustainable business/revenue model for the OnDisC Alliance. There is significant activity worldwide in the research and development of repositories of Learning Objects (LO) -- modular chunks of content that are combined and reused to form larger aggregations of education content such as lesson, units, and courses. The rationale for developing repositories of LOs is to reduce the significant cost of developing and customizing educational material. There is activity in developing LO repositories in both the public sector and the private sector. MERLOT is a large public and free LO repository co-operative. Some private firms developing LO repositories and the tools to create and use them include NetG, SmartForce, and LearningWay. In addition to LO repositories there are many Learning Resource Gateways (LRG) which offer both free and non-free educational material of many levels of object â granularityâ . Additionally, organizations are emerging which are acting as learning resource brokerages or networks, such as UNIVERSAL in Europe and AUShareNet in Australia. There are insights and possible future business relationships for OnDisC to be realized in all of the above educational content delivery organizations. A universal issue among public LO repositories and LSG is how to acquire funding/revenue to sustain the organization beyond initial project status. Most of them are following a sponsorship model where operating and development funds are received from government and/or other supporting organizations and individual educators provide content free. Their business/revenue model follows from a consideration that they are providing a public good which can/must be supported by third parties. OnDisC may be able to operate under a similar business model for similar public goods markets. Additionally, OnDisC may be able to provide LO content to commercial content developers either directly, or through future online educational material brokerage sites/marketplaces. A valuable tool for helping to formulate business and revenue models is a value chain assessment in which all significant value added processes or functions and determined and assigned to the different players or organizations involved in the value chain. Once value added assessments are made, appropriate revenue streams can be modeled. A relevant and useful value chain assessment to consider for OnDisCâ s situation is that of the traditional publisher-library book/journal distribution system. A significant source of risk for the providers of digital content to a store or repository is the high cost associated with digitizing the material into a format suitable for distribution and use. A possible compromise between risk and service is to provide just-in-time digitization for material that has been chosen as desirable by an end user.