Monday, April 06, 2009

Wishful Thinking? 

Rupert Murdoch says newspapers need to charge for online access. He may be correct, but practically speaking, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to take away free access. Some people will pay but most will not. Online page views will drop, and there is no guarantee paying subscribers will offset missing ad revenue. Still, it is worth trying to charge, if only to prove that it is unlikely to work.

Finding a new economic model for news is going to be prolonged and painful. From a PR perspective, we need to track experiments closely because the future of unpaid persuasion is changing as we write. It is indeed possible that most newspapers will shrink to online skeletons like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and only a few wire services will survive to fill in the gaps for national and international news. It seems to be trending that way. Already a good deal of media relations is online. It won't take much for all of it to go there.


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