Denseman on the Rattis

Formerly known as the Widmann Blog


What to do about newspapers

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Most newspapers seem to be losing money at the moment.

Their old revenue model doesn’t work, because more and more people are getting their news from the Internet or from free newspapers like the Metro, and they feel they have to give away their articles for free online, but online advertising doesn’t bring in nearly enough money to compensate.

Rupert Murdoch has now threatened to end free access to the online editions of his newspapers, and if he succeeds, most other newspapers will likely follow.

However, I seriously doubt it would work.

There are so many blogs, public-services news sites and other sources of information that people might just abandon the newspapers altogether.

The problem with paying for news is that most newspapers would want a lot of money (something like £100 or DKK1000 for a year’s access), which would mean that most people could only afford to read one or two.

Often pay-per-view is also offered, but again the price for one article is at least as high as buying the printed newspaper in the corner shop.

Also, the newspapers would have to spend lots of money tracking down plagiarism using an army of copyright lawyers, or all their expensive articles will quickly be republished with slight modifications on free blogs.

I don’t think newspapers will ever be able to charge serious money for news and other topics that are available in great amounts on the Internet.

Neither will they be able to make money on editing and presenting news.

The only area that some people might be able to pay money for is well-researched and well-written articles, but such articles will tend to belong more naturally in weekly papers like The Economist than in daily newspapers.

Even if the newspapers ganged up together and created a common pay-per-view model, it would just drive most of their readers into the arms of the free media (such as blogs), and they’d quickly start losing money again.

2 thoughts on “What to do about newspapers

  • Have you read tosmorning’s comment in the Herald by Iain MacWhirter .,.,
    “How do we stop Google turning into Hal “? it’s very good .,., and relevent to your Blog .,., Do read it and let me know what you think .,., I’m on he side of .,., eh I’ll let you know AFTER you’ve read it !

  • Pingback: The Murdoch Tax : The Widmann Blog

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