Marshall McLuhan was right - the medium is the message.
In almost every case, those that thought content was king were proven wrong. From analog modems (remember baud rates?) to DSL to Cable to FIOS, people routinely (and happily) pay a premium for bandwidth, but they absolutely hate to pay for content.
Think back to the days of the original Napster and Kazaa - if I had been one of those that used either service, my thought process was simple: "I hate paying for content, but I don't mind paying as much or more than $100/month for bandwidth." I may only download 50 songs in a month but I'm still going to be happy with my killer bandwidth vs. having paid $50 for music.
These days people actually pay for multiple sources of bandwidth - I have broadband at home, a data plan for my phone (and a voice plan) and then also pay for hot spots when the need arises. But I still dislike paying for content, I do use Pandora/Hulu, etc. and will buy content, though grudgingly.
Mark Cuban wrote brilliantly about the DVR vs. internet video. In it he talks about how in their typically narrow-minded (the only thing I know is a hammer so everything looks like a nail) mentality, media companies want cable companies to eliminate or cripple DVRs because they allow viewers to avoid commercials. This perspective is shared by most if not all content publishers. They're crazy!
You know others are progressively eating more of your lunch and yet all you want to do is hang on to the meager scraps you have now? Why?
Digitization has altered the equation for publishers - they had the corner on both the medium and the message, but now anyone can distribute content (we haven't even talked about bit torrent) and most people can publish without needing an "official" publisher.
From music to video to books, each publishing machine has attempted to preserve its original business in the hopes of extracting yet one more drop of revenue. But in trying to preserve history, they're losing sight of the future.
People are willing to pay for access, but content ...not so much. Content is less-valued - not just in publishing, but also pharmaceuticals with generics, with clothing and jewelry and knock-offs, etc.
Here's the thing - digitization increases profitability. Manufacturing costs drop dramatically (no physical bits), distribution costs drop dramatically (no bits, no inventory, no returns), cost of sales drops dramatically (eliminate the middle-man), and market size increases dramatically (direct to every customer on the planet, no retail constraints).
If you had all four of these factors beckoning you, why not go that way? Why not actively pursue tomorrow instead of trying to live in yesterday?
Because the greatest predictor of future failure is past success.