The interface will decide the paid content debate

I commend this video of Rory Sutherland’s TED address to you for two reasons.  

Most obviously because it’s a brilliant advocacy by the excellent Rory Sutherland of the role and importance of advertising that is truly worth finding quarter of an hour for.

But specifically because of Sutherland’s turn of phrase in the 11th minute: “The interface fundamentally determines the behaviour”.

He illustrates his point by arguing that if there was a big red button in every household that saved 5o quid into your pension every time you pressed it, then people would save a lot more.

But more relevantly to the media, this is the single biggest factor that will dermine the paid content issue. Will the interface make it incredibly easy to buy a look at that content without the user noticing the trasnaction?

The surveys of users asking them whether they’re willing to pay are getting boring – and, indeed, missing the point.

The interface will decide.


Tim Burrowes


  1. Jonathan Este
    19 Oct 09
    6:23 pm

  2. that Shreddies campaign is gold!

  3. Tamzin
    19 Oct 09
    7:42 pm

  4. They should create a line for all the incidental broken reject shreddies to save on waste and call it Jigsaw, Random or Tetris Shreddies. Or “bottom of the box Shreddies”.

  5. Pete Zerhut
    22 Oct 09
    11:52 am

  6. On paid for content: It all depends on A) what the content is and B) the way in which making payment affects people physchologically at all points in the cycle…

    It’s been widely written about, and I’m inclined to agree, that content providers could do a lot worse than look to how the online gaming world makes money – and what people will pay for within those free gaming environments – to unlock how to take money from online media.