CNN.com is finally realizing that nobody wants to pay for video online. It is abandoning its online video subscription service, Pipeline. Starting next month, the videos will be free and shown with ads. It is much easier to get advertisers to pay $20 to $40 per thousand viewers for a video ad than it is to get consumers to fork over an extra $25 a year for something similar to what they can already get on basic cable.
The hunger among advertisers for video inventory that they can put their brands behind (as opposed to YouTube videos) is so strong right now, that it makes no sense for any media company to hide their videos behind a subscription wall.
The Internet is quickly becoming a new distribution pipe for video,no doubt, but it’s still too early for subscription models. In fact, subscriptions may never work in a place where millions of other free videos are just a click away.