Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Senate testimony on the future of journalism

Later today Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of Search Product and User Experience, will take to Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet about the ways innovation can help preserve journalism and its vital function in our society. Marissa will explain that Google is doing its part by driving significant traffic to online news publishers, by helping them generate revenue through advertising, and by providing tools and platforms that enable them to reach millions of people. You can read her complete testimony here.


Janelle said...

I think the "atomic unit of consumption" for print media is where things have to go in order for the media to continue to generate revenue. The issue, of course, is coming up with a system that feels painless for the user, an EasyPass of sorts that allows you to "purchase" content without making people overthink the process.

Mr. Gunn said...

I don't think a pay-per-use scheme would be a good idea at all. In fact, it reminds me of Compuserve and AOL pre-internet. The big media outlets are welcome to attempts such a model, but I don't want to hear them complain when people find workarounds because the payment system is so cumbersome and because they don't really want to pay the price charged.

Here's one way it could play out:

The big media outlets are almost certain to put prices on their content higher than the majority of people would want to pay because they will base their prices on the amount they currently charge, which is based on current production costs. People won't pay those prices, but they will find ways to get the content cheaper, because the big media outlets will continue to keep producing content. Then media outlets will continue to lose money and begin to blame people pirating their content as the reason for their failure.

Does this sound familiar?

Here's another way things could play out. The big media outlets could realize that the market will no longer support several large media outlets, all carrying similar content. Whereas the market could support a major paper in geographically distinct markets when things actually had to be printed and delivered, the market will no longer support that. Therefore the big media outlets will understand that the market size is smaller, so they have to make their margin on reducing production costs, because they can't charge the same prices anymore. Without a major change in business model, but with drastically reduced costs and with the increasing shift of advertising dollars to online media, suddenly ad supported media actually does start to make sense. Perhaps the money isn't as big as it was before, but that's because prices are no longer artificially propped up by the need to print and deliver a physical item, but maybe the increase effectiveness of online targeted ads allows publishers to start to charge more. Who knows what the future holds in that direction?

BradCrooks said...

How about journalists being given "followed backlinks" to their sites in lieu of cash for their articles, photos and videos. If journalists learn to monetize their sites, these backlinks would be worth more than the cash they'd normally be paid. Journalists...our "cheese" has moved. Future journalists will write, take pictures and videos, edit, and have an ecommerce approach to their sites/blogs.

This approach probably won't work for news and local journalists, but would be ideal for travel, food, style, leisure, etc. I produce travel articles and would sacrifice payment for a backlink instantly.

Linkbug said...

Oh my GAWD. How blindly internet illiterate could these news media companies be???

The whole architecture of the internet is based on the HyperText Markup Language. That is all it is. One document linked to another and another and other.

So, the only way to capitalize on this technology as a content provider is to provide links.

But, where the Hell are they???

Why doesn't every single news story have at least 10 paid keyword specific links to paid advertisers.

A story about cars has at least ten paid links to paying customers like Ford or Mazda or Lada for Christs sake! Anybody. These companies are not shy about advertising. And, the only way to do that on the net is through the HyperText Markup Language.

Case closed. Period. That is all there is.

Forget pretty picture ads on the side of stories. That's the print industry. But, obviously this is not the print industry anymore. This is the HyperText Markup Language Industry now where the TEXT LINK RULES.

And, then to top it all off you can syndicate out full feeds of your content loaded to the Tits with paying link ads and let other people put your billion dollar copy on a million, two million - ten million - 100 million other web logs and aggregates and sponges for FREE! Let them 'scrape' by with the ancient sidebar ads of yesteryear.

But, all that money from your text link laden ads is yours. Yours all yours. Hundreds of millions of BILLIONS of clicks to your paying advertisers each and every hour of the day 24/7 for eternity!

It's like GIANT CASH COW for everybody else so, what's the problem?

Norman Christian Hoffmann