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Thomas Hawk wrote a great piece on the future of stock photography and how FlickR, Getty Images, Yahoo and iStockphoto will fare.

He raised an incredibly interesting point today on FriendFeed about the low price photographers are being paid via iStockphoto.

This brings up, in my mind, a much larger issue. Moving forward, will the price and cost of content be inverse to the price of eyeballs?

In this age of time-shifting, place-shifting, RSS, microblogs and their aggregators, marketers are having a very difficult time reaching consumers directly. They have been placing dollar amounts for years on Television commercials, billboards, radio ads, print ads, even press releases. With the audiences of MSM dwindling (in TV’s case, the number of people that have to watch commercials is decreasing), the value of audiences in these other places should increase dramatically. This is one of the reasons why we will see a tremendous increase in the cost and value of banner ads … yes, banner ads again.

In the same vein, since everyone is a potential content producer, how much is it worth anymore? With web shows like RocketBoom, Wall-Strip and The Burbs (not counting all of the YouTube/Revver/MetaCafe ‘Celebrities’), anyone can be a content creator. All you need is a cell phone, camcorder, or webcam. Since some of this content is more interesting and compelling, why pay for cable anymore (especially when Fox kills shows like Arrested Development in favor of Prison Break and assorted karaoke shows).

I think this is the beginning of the opposite of an attention crash. What would we call this?

With aggregators like iGoogle, Netvibes and, yes, FriendFeed, I’m able to keep track of and pay attention to far more information than ever. While some of what I retain is nominal (I remember a ton of headlines), I don’t read a lot of content in its entirety. I am retaining all of this information where I used to store things like … oh, phone numbers! While I have four personal phone numbers myself (I don’t even know my home phone number), I don’t know how many others I recall. I remember my phone numbers from the houses I grew up in. Even some of my best friends numbers from those days … but certainly new numbers don’t get stored in my brain… just headlines, failed social networks, and poor showings by the New York Rangers.

Back to topic: How much is content going to be worth? When are ad values going to increase dramatically? Your thoughts?

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