The news yesterday from Rupert Murdoch of News Corp about the end of free content has resulted in one of the biggest responses I've ever had for a post, with comments and (mostly emails) from readers who have never spoken up (as well as a raft of new readers and subscribers). Apparently we are waking up.
CNN came out with a report today on the subject stating, for the most part, that their audience and some analysts refute the idea that readers would be willing to pay for content. One said. "As long as there is internet, there will be free content. And as long as there is free content, sites trying to grow on a paid-content business model are not going to survive. It is as simple as that."
It's an interesting thought, but what that reader doesn't know is that there is NO free content on the web. Someone paid to put it there. And if no one is willing to sponsor real journalism, it isn't going to exist.
One of my commenters yesterday said the decline of media in his niche is moving companies to a vendor-as-publisher model adding what appears to be "real" news stories to their websites along with blogging and social media news releases. That will be our free replacement of good journalism on the web. Is that bad? Yes and no, and I'll tell you why ... starting next week.
I've been pondering this idea for a while. I thought it might be a single post, but it might get too long. I'm going to look at mass communication through history. What you will find is a cycle that has repeated itself since the establishment of writing itself. We're coming around again. Lots of people won;t like it, but when you don't put any effort or investment into a mechanism, you don't really get to say how it works.
Have a good weekend.