Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rant of the day

I'm getting tired of the endless blog entries and articles and water cooler discussions about how The Wall Street Journal has figured out how to make customers pay for content online. It's true, but that's not really the point. A large percentage of the Journal's subscribers -- in print and online -- get the paper at work (or through work) and expense it to their employers. It's a unique model, and for more reasons than the paper's (very good) journalism.

That said, we in the big regional newsrooms absolutely, positively must come up with ways to charge for our content in the digital realm before too long. Right now, we're the recording industry in the age of (pre-lawsuit) Napster.

We have to continue to be the highest-quality provider of news in our markets, too, of course. We can't let that slip, no matter how small the newspaper actually becomes as advertising slip-slides away. Otherwise, we won't have anything to sell digitally or otherwise, and we're sunk.

But the bottom line is that advertising will not pay the freight in the future. Or not nearly as much as it's paid in the past. We have to reinvent our distribution model to put more of that burden on customers, whether they like it -- and whether we like it -- or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment