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A Comeback for Free Online Content

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A comeback for free content on the Net. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. There was a time when you could find all kinds of services on the Internet for free. The growth of broadband and the viability of more advertising online is bringing about a revival of sorts. CNN.com hasn't completely abandoned the idea of charging for online content….but it has dropped basic subscriptions…and is now offering video for free. Susan Grant is executive VP of CNN News Services….

"We are doing that because of two or three reasons if I can articulate them for you. One is that the adoption rate for broadband has increased dramatically. Combined with the equally dramatic decrease in the cost to serve video. And I guess the third reason which is right up there in the primary category would be a demand, an interest from the advertisers in the advertising market place."

CNN is not saying how many people were subscribing to the content before either directly or through RealNetworks. And it won't say how long it will take for the business to make money. But there are plans to launch a paid premium service later this year. How will it differ?

"What we can tell you today is that it will feature multiple streams of live video which will be part and parcel of that particular product."

For now…the free service includes hourly two minute updates…along with features in a variety of categories. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.