Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Newspapers gone mad

Much like the music industry, the newspaper industry is finding out a day late and a dollar too short that its business model sucks. But, again like the music industry, very few have a clue how to go forward. The good old days of beat reporters getting the news, setting it into type, printing and distributing it are over. The internet has destroyed its value by distributing the news online - and mostly for free. The papers are hitting back, but it may be too late. Rupert Murdoch is busting a gut to figure out how to make the Wall Street Journal purchase pay off. He is even breaking up the old Dow Jones empire, selling off golden nuggets like the Dow Jones Index service, to do it. And trying to charge for online content which - to be honest - is like trying to shoot a flying fish with a pop gun. The NY Times is also going to try. And the FT just told me I have to pay to see content online after the first 10 stories, even while I pay for my home delivery of the newspaper. I am not considered a 'subscriber' unless I pay for both. But I can find the FT articles copied onto any number of websites, so....
The papers are terrified because bloggers on Seeking Alpha and real-time websites such as Dealbreaker (which the NYT wisely bought) and Breakingviews (ditto Reuters) are the first go-to for financial markets players. Some of these can even get away with charging for content - but it can only happen when the content is not available anywhere else.

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