David Carr is looking for a new business model for news, and says it needs an iTunes. Part of what he wants is to charge for the articles, and, you know, good luck with that. (Times Select, RIP.) But part of what he wants is simply the elusive new online revenue stream that will pay for the newsroom.
Well, it already exists. It’s called Google text ads. It’s ad revenue tailored specifically for the Web environment. It works, and it’s already bringing considerable sums in to many Web sites. It lets little guys and big guys play on the same field.
The problem is, it doesn’t bring in as much cash as newspapers want, or have traditionally expected. And of course, from the music companies’ perspective, neither does iTunes.
The news industry knows how to make money online, just like everybody else. It just doesn’t know how to make as much money as it used to offline. Carr’s piece is strangely silent on this obvious observation. For someone who is trying to think out loud about this situation, he is displaying a peculiar blind spot.
Unfortunately, as a result, his musing simply prolongs the day of reckoning for the industry. He continues to hold out hope for some elusive profit-generating magic formula, instead of helping the business face the reality of a new world in which there’s simply far less money to be made.
UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis’s comment: “The real fallacy in Carr’s delusion is that a news story or an opinion, like a song, is unique—that you can’t get it somewhere else and so you have to buy the original.”
- 12 January, 2009 @ 9:28 [Current Revision] by Scott Rosenberg
- 12 January, 2009 @ 9:23 by Scott Rosenberg