Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Make money off a pirated world

I don't know how many of you watch the ABC show Castle, but they apparently have found a way to connect with their fans and make money through means other than locking up content.
The show involves a mystery writer (played by Nathan Fillion) following a New York City police officer (played by Stana Katic) in order to write yet another bestseller: Heat Wave.
ABC has just come out with that book. Now obviously, fictional characters can't write, but if you were not watching the show, there would be little indication that the book was not written by Richard Castle, bestselling author, playboy and amateur detective.
No matter how many people may be illegally downloading the show, you cannot "pirate" a hardcover book with a sleeve showing one of your favorite actors as one of his characters. JPEGs on your hard-drive are just not the same thing. The back cover even quotes actual best selling authors (who make appearances in the show) to sell the fictional author.
The book is a New York Times Best Seller (#26 this week) and I can imagine that must generate some not insignificant revenue.
Nathan Fillion as an actor is no stranger to more innovative business models, though this is most likely not his doing. After building himself a cult following with the short lived TV Series Firefly, he starred in the viral favorite Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog which was first released free of charge online before a special-features-packed DVD hit the market.
This is yet another example that, despite what major content middlemen monopolies tell us, there are many ways to make money without depending on copyrights: Make attractive content and sell valuable scarce goods that ride on the popularity of the content.

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