Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Who will Pay for News?

Over $10 billion in advertising was wiped out of US media outlets in the first half of this year, according to today's FT. This helps to explain why financial journalists such as myself are currently under-employed. What is worrisome is that advertising in business-to-business magazines, the mainstay of the financial trade press, fell by nearly 32%. Newspapers are failing by the day as print media is replaced by real-time news on the internet. But the carnage in advertising budgets concerns me. What if this is a long-term trend and businesses find that they can do without advertising in local, national and trade publications? How do online news services make money if not with advertising? Even the mega-popular social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are struggling to squeeze money out of their subscribers, never mind advertisers. There are any number of free, real-time news feeds available over public sites including Yahoo! Reuters and Bloomberg now offer nearly-real-time news directly via their websites, this content used to make them a fortune. I have to hope that the public and businesses still recognize the value in good, accurate news that is politics-free. Especially since some of my journalist friends and I are bravely considering launching a locally-focused online business publication.

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