The current issue of BrandWeek touts the results of an AdWeek Media/Harris Poll that suggests that, while newspapers are read both online and in print by a majority of adults, paying for online content is not in the cards.

The newspaper industry has unfortunately created an appetite for free online news content in an effort to generate traffic for their websites. As more eyes landed on the their sites and as aggregation sites began to re-publish news content, the model began to backfire as newspaper circulation and online cpms dropped. It became a lose-lose combination.

A recent study released by the Pew's Center Project for Excellence in Journalism paints a picture that goes a long way to support Rupert Murdoch's efforts to raise a pay wall for online newspaper content. The study suggests that while the news landscape had expanded considerably through online channels, most of what the public reads and learns is overwhelmingly driven by traditional media -- primarily newspapers.

What happens if newspapers die?

To quote from the
study ..."The questions are becoming increasingly urgent. As the economic model that has subsidized professional journalism collapses, the number of people gathering news in traditional television, print and radio organizations is shrinking markedly. What, if anything, is taking up that slack?"

Until such time that circulation and advertising can support the online models (unlikely), only a payment for content model will keep the information flow from drying up. If we do not wake up and pay for content origination, we are doomed to a Twitter-like world and information without substance.

1 comment:

James said...

If papers die, the forests might have a chance to live. Cutting down so many trees just so people can wipe their arse or read who is shagging Paris Hilton is an environmental disgrace.
Looks like the big newspapers should have gotten with the program about 7-8 years ago.
Watching the likes of Rupert Murdoch just shows that these tycoons beleive they have a natural entitlement to the bulk of the news market. Being a few decades behind technology has really cost these behemoths. Now days, you don't need a $250m printing facility and fleets of delivery trucks to provide the news, a $2000 laptop computer can do all the editing and layout work needed and anyone can afford to have a go. This can only be a positive thing, especially since the main stream media is now basically a mouth for the political party they support that day.
All I can say is, thank you America for taking Murdoch off our hands, cheers.