Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Journalism’

Risky Business: News Corp. To Charge For Online Content

The Last Mogul will either be the first innovator or...the last mogul.

The "Last Mogul" will either be the first innovator or...the last mogul.

It happens in many of our favorite action movies. The hero has been outsmarted. He’s up against the wall and the pirate/ninja/dragon/girlfriend has the upper hand. The hero is out of options. Will we see him fall? Assuredly so…unless …unless of course he can pull off the riskiest of moves. He has no other options but to swing on a rope onto another ship/use a forbidden martial arts move that could leave him defenseless or deal a fatal blow/roll underneath the beast, avoid napalm-like flame and plunge his sword deep into its belly/feign sickness to get out of the scrabble triple date. This is the news industry. It’s zero hour. And it’s their move.

And so it is amidst these dire circumstances that Rupert Murdoch decided that his success with the Wall Street Journal is enough to test the waters of monetizing online news across all of his newspapers by June 2010. The New York Post, the UK’s Times and the Sun, and Australia’s Daily Telegraph are just some of the newspapers he owns besides the WSJ.

As I blogged about a couple of weeks ago some companies are trying to get ahead of this coming wave of news organizations trying to figure out how to receive revenue for quality journalism. The trick is that they must provide a price point or a pay model that retains enough readers so that advertisers don’t jump ship. Whether news organizations use an intermediary or develop their own system, it’s clear that they will have to create a delicate balance between opposing forces.

If Murdoch succeeds? Besides inflating his ego, it will save newspapers. Plain and simple. In an era where classified advertising went to Craigslist, newspapers would receive a life preserver in the form of revenue injection across the board. If it fails? News Corp. will stumble badly but I don’t think it can get much worse for other news organizations. The worst of the recession has passed by most accounts and newspapers are hurting, but they are surviving.

So the movie will play out in front of our eyes. The trouble–of course–is that at the end of movies you leave the theater happy. In real life? The good guys don’t always win.

_____________________________________________________________

For a chance to have my blog posts delivered to the comfort of a popular social network, follow me @TheRealAdrianC on Twitter, where I retweet  loads of interesting and important stories each day, send out social media news, and of course, pass along my humble blog posts, to you, the discerning new  media devotee.

Drunk on ‘Sexcess’: What A Lavish 1999 Magazine Launch Party Has To Do With A 2009 Recession.

Ten years ago Talk Magazine was the you know what of the town.

Ten years ago Talk Magazine was the 'you know what' of the town.

Bill Simmons, popular national columnist from ESPN, has taken a liking to Twitter. As such he posts early and often @sportsguy33. One of his recent tweets was about the startling difference between the much ballyhooed launch of Talk Magazine in 1999 and the stark reality that confronts the industry now. The story is a great read, chronicling the absolutely over the top nature of a party in front of the Statue of Liberty, complete with floor pillows and celebrities bumping into each other in a shrouded outdoor atmosphere. A quote from the story:

“Ten years ago, journalists, long the salarymen of the publishing economy, began gorging on big contracts and options from digital start-ups like shrimp at a free buffet. With coveted writers commanding $5 for every typed word into magazines that were stuffed to the brim with advertising, there was a fizziness, some would say recklessness, in the air. The industry was drunk on its own prerogatives, working a party that seemed as if it would never end.”

Does that sound familiar? While I was reading it, suddenly my mind was shifting away from the mistakes of magazines and I felt like this wasn’t about the writers and publishers at all. The paragraph above could just as easily be describing the culture on Wall Street. Is it passe to bash these companies? I don’t think so. Especially because they continue to operate in a reality other than the one most of us inhabit. In 2008, 4793 Wall Streeters made over $1 million in bonuses. They received taxpayer money and doled it out liberally. But surely those practices have mercifully ended, correct? These companies, ones that received TARP payouts, they’re not back to their old ways are they? Well actually they are, as Goldman Sachs prepares to hand out $11.4 billion this year to its employees. I don’t know enough about this topic to say for certain that companies like Goldman should be exercising restraint for the good of their company. What I can say is that I’m pretty sure  it looks terrible for them to be tossing money from the rafters while the rest of the country suffers through the worst recession and job market in a generation. But what I can’t say authoritatively, I will let others do.

The New York Times: “Goldman, analysts warned, is embracing financial risks that many of its competitors are unable or unwilling to take. While Goldman managed those risks this time, its strategy could backfire if the markets turn against it.”

Moneyweek: “Trading in fixed income, currency and commodities generated half Goldman’s record revenues. That can’t last. Competitors will return and clients will lose enthusiasm for trading as the rally runs out of steam. And as investors lose their appetite for government debt, Goldman will also struggle to continue earning fees by finding buyers for this.”

New York Daily News: “The scary thing is we’re about to see the cycle repeat itself – and it will lead to near insolvency at another firm too big to fail,” said John Coffee, a Columbia law professor. “High-risk, high return trading – where managers share in the upside, but not in the downside – has already returned to Goldman Sachs, and other banks will say they have to do the same thing so they can compete with Goldman.”

Well! That sounds fantastic. Let me see if I get this straight. It’s hard to get your mind around complex issues when you’re not gifted with the intelligence and foresight of financial tycoons, executives, and CEO’s, so bear with me. With Wall Street drunk on a mix of success and excess, let’s call it ‘sexcess’, our financial system was on the brink of failure. It was saved by the government. The government still owns some of these companies, like one-third of Citigroup, for example. So last year amidst the meltdown, these corporations continued to shell out big bonuses. Now this year, despite everything that happened, a little success, in one quarter mind you, has led companies to throw caution to the wind once again. “Screw it! We’re back,” seems to be the sentiment. And on top of this fortunate news, analysts believe that other companies will feel that they need to embrace the risky practices that led to near catastrophy and threatened our fair republic.

The amount that Americans should be outraged is incalculable. Maybe, David A. Viniar, Chief Financial Officer for Goldman Sachs can take us away with a comforting quote. Something to make us all sleep a little better tonight.

Viniar on bonuses, from NYT: “We pay for performance.”

I bet the publisher of Talk Magazine was thinking the same thing in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, on a night not so long ago.


For a chance to have my blog posts delivered to the comfort of a popular social network, follow me @TheRealAdrianC on Twitter, where I retweet  loads of interesting and important stories each day, send out social media news, and of course, pass along my humble blog posts, to you, the discerning new media devotee.

The Associated Press vs. The Internet

The Associated Press would charge 12.50 for a quote of five words.

The Associated Press would charge 12.50 for a quote of five words.

You know, I get it. Journalism is in trouble. Oh yes, its true. Business model is in shambles and no one quite knows how you monetize something that people have been getting for free, for years now. There are ten-year olds, who only know a world with nothing but free, high quality journalism. So everyone is kind of in a free-for-all attempting to salvage a virtuous and important industry.

Some are now toying with the idea of different pay models for news sites, as I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. The Associated Press has decided to go the extra mile. If you want to quote five words or more, it will cost you $2.50 a word. The AP is upset because they feel that their content is hijacked all around the internet. I won’t dispute that, I’m sure they track their content well and know that they don’t like the current setup. But as this story over at Mashable says, it’s a  news wire. Don’t they want to encourage sharing of their stories? Shouldn’t they figure out a way to work within the current rules a little better? I think this experiment is an example of a news organization striking out big time. I hope I’m wrong, but just to be safe, let me quote four words from one of their stories so I don’t have to break out some greenbacks. “This Makes No Sense,” Associated Press.

For a chance to have my blog posts delivered to the comfort of a popular social network, follow me @TheRealAdrianC on Twitter, where I retweet  loads of interesting and important stories each day, send out social media news, and of course, pass along my humble blog posts, to you, the discerning new media devotee.

Journalism’s New Business Model is Here

The men who would save newspapers. Click to see why they think it will work.

Fascinating article from AOL’s Daily Finance, which has an interview with the creators of Journalism Online. Though it sounds like a company that I should send my resume to, it is actually a venture that seeks to get news organizations to sign up for a pay model for their content.

Far from a one-size-fits-all approach, the company allows news outlets to customize their pay schemes with 15 different variables. Publishers will be able to do everything from selling monthly subscriptions to charging micropayments for individual articles with a sliding pricing scale based on the timeliness of the news. “What we’re giving them is a set of dials they can constantly turn,” says Brill. “In no case is is simply charging or not charging. It’s not simply a pay wall goes up around everything.”

To me this is why the company has a chance to succeed despite the popular opinion of many(and I include myself) that online pay models won’t work in today’s internet environment. Fifteen different types of pay structures allows publishers to make their last stand(dramatic but a worst case scenario) with the pay model that they feel provides the best chance for success. A lot will be riding on the success of this venture or one like it in the near future. If they’re lucky they might succeed in the way that a pioneer in subscription content has.