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Should We Care?

Entry 1070, on 2009-08-09 at 21:06:43 (Rating 3, News)

I don't know how many times recently have I heard discussions of how the traditional media are dying. It really seems like its actually happening, especially when you consider the number of newspapers which look like they are just about to fold (if you'll excuse the pun). And attempts at adapting newspapers to the web have been successful in every way except financially (although it took years before web based newspapers were really done properly).

So is this really a problem and should we care? Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. Newspapers (both paper and web-based) certainly provide a lot of potentially good original material (and a lot of totally inaccurate crap unfortunately) and many of the new internet-based news and information sources (such as blogs) rely on them, so it does seem that if the newspapers were gone we would all be worse off.

Recently Rupert Murdoch has set a date to start charging for online news. Within 12 months he plans to charge for all content on News Corp's web sites. Its such an obvious solution to the problem - and I think a totally stupid one which is doomed to failure. He has been able to charge for material in the past so naturally the same model is all he can think of now. So much for the creative genius of big corporations!

If so many other internet services can run without charging then I'm sure news services can too, and news services who charge for access and set up blocks to prevent linking and quoting in search services and blogs will just become irrelevant. This is a great opportunity for new news services and News Corp's existing competitors to do well at their expense.

No one has succeeded by working against the culture of the internet. Even the RIAA have finally realised they are wasting their time. I'm sure our friend Rupert will get the message eventually too. But maybe his media empire will be wiped out first and more relevant and forward thinking organisations will take over.

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Comment 14 (2433) by OJB on 2009-08-25 at 11:04:59: (view earlier comments)

Well I guess time will tell. One thing's for sure: its hard to make people start paying for something they are used to getting for free. This seems like a path to self-destruction to me. And I think greed and lack of imagination is a perfectly adequate answer to why they haven't already tried this model. There are plenty of other examples (the music and movie industries, for example).

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Comment 15 (2435) by SBFL on 2009-08-25 at 11:27:51:

Oh yeah, because the music and movie industries aren't greedy...

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Comment 16 (2436) by OJB on 2009-08-25 at 11:34:13:

I don't quite see what you're trying to say. The fact that they are greedy was my point exactly.

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Comment 17 (2439) by SBFL on 2009-08-25 at 12:02:31:

Sorry I thought you were trying to give other examples of online models.

Anyway, the "greed" excuse you continue to roll out is all a bit tiring. I think the more serous issue here is survival. These news outlets can see times are changing and they need to find a new model to survive. Indeed online subspriptions will be a hard sell for them. For sure there is no easy answer. Watch this space.

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Comment 18 (2440) by OJB on 2009-08-25 at 12:04:26:

OK, so I think we have reached a point where we sort of agree then. The next two years will show which model will work (Murdoch wants his news outlets working on a pay model by next year).

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