Friday, March 19, 2010
This discussion of the economics of online news is uncomfortable but necessary reading. Essentially, the news industry is no closer to finding a workable business model than it was last year or the year before. It is not that publishers are dumb. The cliff to climb is a reluctance of online news readers to pay for news and the inability of publishers to make up for it in advertising. It is a double whammy for the industry at a time when mainstream media are losing subscribers and viewers. Another nail through the heart of the news industry is a lack of loyalty among online readers. Few have a habit of going to one site for their news. They graze across multiple sites and use aggregators like Google. So, how does one make money from people who won't pay, aren't loyal and insufficient advertising? Meanwhile, PR and marketing practitioners are abandoning news publishers for direct approaches to target audiences. It all adds up to a continuation of a perfect storm for the industry and the eventual disappearance of some mainstream media. Eventually someone somewhere will find a viable economic model but it may be too late for most of the industry.