Foremost in the plan are MIT, and the article reveals that the first course offered by them through edX had more students enrolled than the university has had graduates since it was founded in the 19th Century!
They predict that the courses due to go live this autumn will have approximately 500,000 students signed up, which just goes to show the huge demand around the world for knowledge. Obviously a university can only fit a certain number of students into its lecture halls, but with online the market is endless.
Contrast this with the news last week that the Premier League has sold its latest broadcasting rights for over £3 billion. Telecoms company BT are the latest company that are ploughing vast sums into football broadcasting in the hope that they will succeed where onDigital, Setanta and ESPN have failed.
Never has football been more available to watch from your home, yet a quick browse of any football related discussion forum on match day will see fans clamouring for an illegal stream to watch. If you manage to find such a stream you're often joined by tens of thousands of other fans from around the world looking to watch matches online.
Bare in mind that these feeds are shoddy quality and often minutes behind the live action, yet fans will suffer through this to get a piece of the action. Imagine the market if they offered these fans are good quality feed to watch their teams matches for a reasonable price (maybe a few pounds per match). You could probably bring in an extra £100,000 per match that you wouldn't have had otherwise.
Corporate events are another example of this outdated thinking, with many organisers reluctant to offer online coverage for fear that it will 'cannobalise' ticket sales for attending in person. They ignore the roaring success TED have enjoyed by opening up their events by offering video footage for all to see for free. The clips have been viewed hundreds of millions of times, making TED the place to go for cutting edge thoughts.
I wrote earlier this year about some US research revealing that forgoing patent protection actually earns you more money than if you had blocked out rivals from the marketplace. The rationale is that because other suppliers have access to the market, innovation prospers, therefore making products better quality and growing the market as a whole. Your portion of it may be smaller but because the whole is bigger, you make more money.
TED and edX seem to get this basic principle. Do you?