Re: Alternative business model please
"[...] but would we have had all the graphical and multimedia content?"
Almost certainly yes. The usenet type news groups were a real jungle of good, bad, and nasty. By the late 1990s alt.bin groups were doing video downloads - even though the usual home dial-up connection was at best 28kbps to 56kbps. Possibly usenet still has such things - doing a quick google revealed recent blogs offering comparisons of usenet with TOR for such things.
The difference would have been that people would have had to pay a subscription to get a decent news group supplier with enough storage to hold all the postings. Even before 2000 - ordinary ISPs were not making any serious effort to keep up with the volume of daily propagation and distributed storage.