Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Both Too Much UPDATED

AppleInsider.com says that NYTimes.com is mulling over a charge of between $10 to $20 a month for its product when it goes behind some sort of pay wall.

I very much doubt that I'd pay anywhere near that much, even if it is one of the gold standards, especially given all of the other pretty good sources of news out there. That much total a month? Maybe.

I know I've said this too much recently; but, the only way that paying for content online will work is something on the cable/satellite model, hopefully with the ability to pick your news "channels."

Google or Apple is ready made to provide the pipe for the content. Both have an App store/market. Apple has experience with ITunes.

What I don't understand about current media is its apparent insistence on the town square marketing model. There's the butcher shop, the baker, the farmers' market, the hardware store and so on. Please patronize each of us with our own overhead, without the benefits of economy of scale.

That's good if everyone lives in the little town and can walk to the square. Kmart killed some of them. Then Home Depot, Lowes and of course Wal-Mart. Having been brought to death's door by the Internet big box model, media insists on atomistic behavior, each source being an island unto itself, come into my door, no my door! Pay me! Even the big boxes have reacted to the EBays and Amazons of the Internet, creating ways to drive business to themselves, and make it pay.

What media doesn't understand is that it doesn't sell a physical thing like a big box store does (and what book publishers will soon discover with their pricing). What it sells has value but it has to create a way to bring people to the value at a price that they will pay (what Amazon has provided for publishers). That way is a return to the old bazaar, really just a digital town square. One entry, choose what you will at the price that equates supply with demand.

Content can't divide and conquer. Each source on its own will only whither and die.

UPDATE: Since posting, I've gotten thinking that I'm not the sole audience for news. I can afford to pay. The old advertising model got people that can't pay, or pay much, access to hard news. Right now, I see those people slowly frozen out of the news stream, the very people that need to have access to hard news mainstream, unless we count E!, TMZ, Fox, CNN and MSNBC to be sufficient news sources, which I don't. I've got some thinking to do.

5 comments:

Thomas said...

I wonder how they're going to stop bloggers from just cutting-and-pasting their content and redistributing it to their friends and the world for free? The record companies weren't able to stop music sharing, so what's going to stop content sharing?

Dave said...

I think the answer to your question is a combination of the ITunes model and the increasing reduction in the quality of reporting - if you want quality, something you and I have complained about, there needs to be a way to pay a reasonable price for it. I'd love to continue ignoring online ads; but, their sponsors are going to continue wising up to the fact that most people don't even "see" the ads.

Debo Blue said...

Economist.com

The Curmudgeon said...

I don't want to pay for news. (Do you seriously think that if the NYT charges for its product it will not put ads on its site?) I am willing to register so that a service can tell prospective advertisers that it has x registered users and they are concentrated in these markets....

I do think that the media companies should consider going after the services that reproduce their content and sell their own ads. Attribution alone is not enough.

I always provide attribution when I cite a source -- but I also don't reproduce the source in full as if it were my work. (The AP was going to set a limit of four or five words -- that's ridiculously low -- but you and I both see sites which have NO original content and yet get traffic and ad revenue.)

The local papers here experimented with paid archives. Stories are posted for a week or 10 days or 30 -- and then can be accessed only for a fee. Maybe that could be a subscription service. (I have that via Westlaw and wouldn't need it -- but just the fact that I have it through Westlaw suggests that there are others who are paying for archival service.)

Most of the newspaper quotes I use come from the Sun-Times (which I buy on the train) or the Tribune (to which I subscribe). Sometimes I'm quoting AP content and linking to other sources than the local papers but only because the newspaper's site didn't reprint all the AP stories I read on the train. Either way, though, my use does tie to some money that's going toward the producers of the news "product."

But I still don't want to pay a separate fee.

fermicat said...

The Daily Show is still free.