The Business of On-line Content Delivery
Digital Commerce Working Group 
Final Comments


Final Comments: 

One of the most rewarding activities that we performed in this working group was actually sitting down in front of a networked computer and see how digital commerce is being used on the Internet.  Many of the activities that we looked at -- reading a newspaper on-line, buying pizza or books on-line -- were not available couple of years ago.  Perhaps that is why these activities are so exciting. 

We were able to see that it is possible to add new value by making goods available over the Internet.  In the case of news, our focus, we were able to point out many value-add features that are not possible in a printed version of a newspaper.  But not all digital commerce necessarily adds value.  One of our group members noted that it right now it is definitely quicker to just pick up the phone and order a pizza rather than sit down in front of the computer and use a World Wide Web form.  It is even easier and usually more pleasant to sit down at a table with a full page newspaper rather than read news from a computer screen. 

From each group member's studies, it is clear that there are definitely some serious issues to work out and understand, even in the limited focus of news distribution.  In the age of customized content and individual news delivery, privacy is supremely important.  Enabling technologies are changing quickly.  What will these new technologies enable as far as the future forms of digital content?  How will the value of that digital content be measured?  And how is and will intellectual property concerns impact digital content? 

These are the issues that we touched on in our group discussions.  Suffice to say that we did not come to any final conclusions on any of these topics.  Perhaps the only conclusion that we can give is that all of our issues are changing quickly and dramatically every day and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. 


Some of the group member's sites have links to references and articles.  Here are a few general background sites: 

Miami Herald Special Site on On-line News and Digital Commerce:  Hal Varian's Digital Commerce Links: WWW  Virtual Library Links about Journalism:  American Journalism Review:

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