Bill Perry has asked a very relevant question relating to the distribution of Flash Lite content. Looking at the stages of maturity Flash Lite has passed through, today we see many developers contributing to the technology, and each developer may have a different priority for distribution.
When I started working on Flash Lite, the priority I saw amongst most developers was to freely distribute their content. The idea was to reach out to as many people as possible and build awareness about the technology. Though there were limited mediums available at that time, the reach was possible.
With the technology maturing, the developers started experimenting with Flash Lite; they wanted to stretch the technology constraints and offer additional tools to work on. Here the ratio was balanced by developers who offered free tools/open source and others who made it available for purchase.
Today the scenario is very different. There are direct to consumer portals and aggregators like Club Moket, Handango, Mobigamz and Smashing Content accepting content from independent developers for distribution. Operators like Verizon in US have made Flash Lite available to their consumers and devices come embedded with Flash Lite. On the developer front, there are a few are still working on tools to help the community function better with Flash Lite development. But the priority has now shifted to monetizing efforts.
So getting back to Bill’s question, if Flash Lite content goes completely free, it will be difficult to sustain developers for a long time. Advertising is perhaps very suitable but will still limit the audience unless supported by aggregators who are willing to push the content to customers. Finally paid content would do well only with quality content developers because the operators will place only the best on their decks to push to their customers.
I personally think that all the three preferences would appease to developers at different stages of their growth with the technology. But from a long term market perspective for the technology, it will be good to have content payable, just like it is for PC and other wireless content.