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Where is my paid content?

January 25, 2010

Newspapers are crying, “WHO HAS BEEN TASTING MY SOUP?”. Have they been too willing to give away their content?

Whilst she lay there, dreaming of all sorts of pleasant things, the three Bears came home from their walk very hungry and quite ready for their dinners.

But, oh! dear me! how cross the Great Big Bear looked when he saw his spoon had been used and thrown under the table.

“WHO HAS BEEN TASTING MY SOUP?” he cried, in a Great Big Voice.

Grimm brothers: “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Newspapers are feeling papa bear’s bewilderment on returning home. Monetizing news content is their business —what brings food to the table.

But, they’re finding that monetizing content by intertwining ads with news is a dwindling proposition on print… and surprisingly tenuous on the web. The cracks in the old model may be best explained by understanding that nowadays online readers “search” for most of their content, or get it in laser-search-self-publications. In a close second place, readers are further distracted from the traditional media by —or attracted to— the overwhelming variety of glittering toys, —Iphones and the like.

Notwithstanding, readers will always be attracted to well established news providers, whom they “trust” to suitably inform them on what’s going on in the world —with a particular interest in the community that surrounds them.

We must recognize that news organizations are part of the problem. They have been too willing to give away their content. It’s quite different to give away titles and leads, a few articles… even, non categorized articles… than the whole shebang.

Radio and TV are broadcast freely, but their audience has always suffered from not being able to pick a specific category, —which is Cable TV’s edge over TV. Although, movies have helped by being a powerful attraction to audiences by themselves, i.e. Avatar.

Studies show that online readers prefer short stories —readers are in a hurry to find what they’re looking for. Then, shorten them a bit… providing free news “teasers”, headlines with a couple of lines, a la Google, which would also take advantage of the web’s marketing viralization in a non-destructive way.

It’s been a huge mistake to give away complete articles, viralization is killing news “originators” by thinning advertising on the multiplying content copy sites. Viralization should help bring readers into publication sites that originate and carry exclusive-original-good-articles, not disperse advertising into copy sites.

Monetizing content is achieved through subscriptions and selling ads. But, as we’ve seen, tweaking subscriptions is basic and has a profound effect on the second variable. A process which needs to be repeated for each of the new media outlets.

Tweaking to be followed.

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