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Are you willing to pay for access to online news?

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 07:05 am
@msolga,
I only read newspapers when I'm at the car lot, or one of the subway freebies. I occasionally look at the NYT online, but not nearly as much as I used to. I pretty much stick to radio news, with very occasional glances at TV news.

I'm back where I was 35 years ago - almost entirely radio news.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 07:27 am
Many of us, "of a certain age", remember the brouhaha when people were talking about what was then called, "pay TV". Most people were furious. They were used to getting radio, and then TV over the air, at no cost.

I remember discussions where people postulated that paying for TV would never happen. Now people take for granted, that unless they want only the most basic stations, they will have to pony up for the service.

Over the last number of years, my local rag has become so very poor. Why? There are not a lot of ads, so that they have to skimp on the news coverage. The only reason that I even get the paper, is for the booklets of coupons, and to keep up with the local stuff. I read a lot of news on the net, from various sources.

I would suspect that the journalism people know that many people share my disgust over the state of print journalism. I think they know that there is a huge potential market for quality journalism on the net, and that many people would pay for it.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 07:29 am
still don't pay for TV, and likely never will, just don't watch much
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 07:59 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:

Quote:
I doubt it will fly. Yahoo and several others are too competive to go along, in my opinion. Wall Street Journal gets away with it because they have a niche not well filled by other sources. Anyway, online access is usually bundled with a subscription to the print version.


I hope you're right, Roger. But Rupert Murdoch controls a lot of the media. And he sounds as though he means it!




I guess I will HAVE to pay, if that's how it goes.



Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 12:13 pm
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
Are you willing to pay for access to online news?

No, I wouldn't pay for this. As someone else hinted, I think there will always be some sites that will be free, at least for the near future.

I access the site of our main Vancouver area news / talk radio station (CKNW- AM) every day, as well as listion to the news there.

On this site, I can also get national and international news, although I tend to get that more from TV.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 10:18 pm
Paying for news isn't going mainstream unless something like micropayments becomes mainstream. In the news industry it's pretty much only worked for the WSJ so far to sell content online for anything other than a newspaper of record it would mean instant death.

The writing is on the wall for newspapers, but few of them have figured it out. Instead of blaming Google and the internet for all their woes (yes, they've been supplanted by the internet but wringing their hands over it isn't going to help) they should jump on the tech bandwagon in earnest. Advertising in physical newspapers is going to die off for good reason. It's a horrible alternative to advertising online.

The newspapers who want to make it online need to act like the New York Times, and become heavyweight internet publishers. They should be emphasizing their online content not hampering it with subscription fees. The online ad market has tanked in this economy, but it's still going to eclipse all other advertising eventually. They need to have the foresight to get on the bandwagon now, and to make the tough decisions (basically, most will need to downsize significantly and drop their print editions) quickly. Right now anyone can compete with them with relatively little starting costs online (e.g. Huffington Post), they have a short window where they are still the originators of the content and can spin that into online success.

Murdoch is trying (e.g. MySpace purchase) but is just plain getting his butt kicked by people who are better (e.g. MySpace is losing to Facebook) at the online publishing game than he is. If he thinks his newspapers can do what the WSJ does then he's going to become irrelevant even faster.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 02:58 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
The writing is on the wall for newspapers...


I think this is the crux of what concerns me most, Robert. The best newspapers around the world employ some excellent journalists/commentators. And the reports & writings of those journalists have been freely available to us online. We have been spoiled really, with the access we've had, free of charge. So, if many newspapers do go out of business, what happens to these journalists & our access to quality reporting?
As Murdoch said in the the link in my first post:

Quote:
“Quality journalism is not cheap"


(Especially for media proprietors looking to make maximum profit!)
If a number newspapers do go out of business, & some news/commentary sites do begin to charge users, then I'd think that there would still be any number of free news sites available as well. But it is the likely quality of those free sites, and the likely standardized nature of news reporting & commentary on them, that most people would be reading. Put simply, I think we'd be much more poorly informed than we are now.

BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 05:00 am
@msolga,
The model for what those out of work newspaper reporters can do is being play out now in the Miami area where talk radio people had all lost their jobs as the radio stations had turn into all sport all the time and done as cheaply as possible stations.

The results is that the out of work radio people had open a new website/podcast internet “radio” station and in a matter of weeks they had a few thousands listeners and more paid spots they can handle.

In the mean time the last radio station that had gone all sport had a rating decrease of 50 percent with no bottom in sight.

Let the out of work reporters open their own news websites and pay the small overhead with spots.

The only ones who will loss is losing are the big overhead newspapers and radio stations.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 06:09 am
@BillRM,
in detroit they reduced the newspapers home delivery, and kept the journalists

in an interview with two detroit journalists who'd won pullitzers, they said it was sad that fellow journalists who'd won awards were unemployed by the time they collected them, due to cost cutting redundancies

Washington, Dec 17 2008

For the first time in a large US city, newspaper readers in Detroit will no longer be able to step outside their door to grab a delivered paper every day.The publisher of the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News said Tuesday it would eliminate home delivery on most days.

The move comes as newspapers across the country have been hit by declining readership and advertising revenues resulting in layoffs at major dailies as more people get their news on the internet.

Subscribers will only receive home delivery Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and a scaled-down version of the paper will be available on newsstands on other days of the week, said the Detroit Media Partnership, which operates both papers under a joint operating agreement.

The publisher said it plans to reduce its 2,100-strong workforce by nine percent, but those cuts will not come from the newsroom.


engineer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 06:16 am
I think the downside of pay-for-news is that the reputable sources will dry up behind pay-for-use restrictions, but the wack job sites will continue to posts their stuff. We'll see a lot of World Net Daily stuff and be unable to pull up reputable sources to refute it.
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 07:57 am
@engineer,
I think there will always be ways to access that kind of thing. When the NYT and the New Yorker didn't have stuff available to everyone online (NYT has already experimented with making some content available only to paying subscribers), there were always blogs and such who would re-post things (i.e. someone was a paid subscriber and would copy and paste).

I'm much more concerned with reputable sources existing, at all. I really don't want real journalism to disappear for lack of funds.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 08:00 am
I would prolly pay for Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal (not the OpEd pages)
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 10:50 am
@djjd62,
My wife own a home in te Detroit area so I had read the Detroit free press and I do not know why they would keep the same level of news staff as the amount of news they are reporting on website or newspaper had been greatly reduce to say the least.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 02:25 am
@engineer,
Quote:
I think the downside of pay-for-news is that the reputable sources will dry up behind pay-for-use restrictions, but the wack job sites will continue to posts their stuff. We'll see a lot of World Net Daily stuff and be unable to pull up reputable sources to refute it.


Yes, that's pretty much my thinking, too. And whichever "media moguls" control those "wack job sites" (or even the run-of-the-mill freebie sites) will have a huge amount of control over the political thinking of everyday folk, in many countries. And I find that prospect downright scary.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 03:30 am
@dyslexia,
Eds and OpEds are the best part.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 03:31 am
@msolga,
Yes, that's pretty much my thinking, too. And whichever "media moguls" control those "wack job sites" (or even the run-of-the-mill freebie sites) will have a huge amount of control over the political thinking of everyday folk, in many countries. And I find that prospect downright scary.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The wacko sites will be read by the wackos it will not increase the wacko population one little bit.

The internet allow a million voices to be hear cheaply and with low overhead the spot pay sites can more then afford to do everything that a daily newspaper does now at a fraction of the cost.

Newspapers will be replaced with news sites from small town local sites to international sites and we will all benefit from the fact that the cost to set up news sites will allow many players instead of the limits numbers that are now in the market.

We will be going back to the time similar to when there was many newspapers serving a large city not just one.

msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 03:37 am
@BillRM,
Quote:
The wacko sites will be read by the wackos it will not increase the wacko population one little bit.


My main concern is the editorial control of the "free" sites, Bill. And those, I'd suspect, will be the sites that most people will be visiting for their news.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 03:59 am
@msolga,
My main concern is the editorial control of the "free" sites, Bill. And those, I'd suspect, will be the sites that most people will be visiting for their news.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All or almost all news sites will remain free as in pay by ADVs and because of the very low overhead compare to print newspaper the good sites that draw people will be rolling in funds to hire good reporters etc.

Editorial control is not a problem when the price of starting a news website will be so low that unlike now no one small group can control the opinion page or the reporting in general. If a main web news sites get off balance it will be replace in very short order as it viewers will leave it.

You will in the end have a fairly balance large news webs sites as you have large newspapers and keeping them honest will be many others sites ready and eager to call them out on any errors and take their place.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 06:12 pm
@BillRM,
Quote:
Editorial control is not a problem when the price of starting a news website will be so low that unlike now no one small group can control the opinion page or the reporting in general. If a main web news sites get off balance it will be replace in very short order as it viewers will leave it.

You will in the end have a fairly balance large news webs sites as you have large newspapers and keeping them honest will be many others sites ready and eager to call them out on any errors and take their place.


I wish I had your confidence, Bill.

(I feel like I'm going around in circles, but..) the way I see it, quality news & commentary is dependent on the media proprietors' willingness to pay for quality journalists. And since Murdoch (like most other large news proprietors) is primarily concerned with making as big a profit as possible ... & given the unprofitabilty of many existing newspapers, combined with declining revenue from (off & online) advertising, I foresee a future in which we'll have more "generic" syndicated news & less of the specialized, indepth quality writing currently found in the "better" news outlets. Because employing quality journalists will no longer be considered financially "viable".
Also, looking at A2Kers responses to the notion of paying for online news (on this thread) it appears that few would be interested in paying extra & would probably rely on whatever free sites are available online.
Some might think "so what?". But informed, quality news feeds all the rest. Even independent blogs rely on them (initially at least) for information & debate.
So yes, there'll still be a lot of free online news material available, but it's the quality & diversity (& perhaps accuracy) of the reporting & commentary that will suffer (in my opinion). A lot more infotainment (than we have now) posing as news, because that is what "most people" want, what the advertisers will pay for ... & which will give the media owners their greatest possible profit.
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Aug, 2009 06:47 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

msolga wrote:

Rupert Murdoch controls a lot of the media. And he sounds as though he means it!

I guess I will HAVE to pay, if that's how it goes.


Damn. If only there was a free source of radio, TV and online news in this country.
Wink

 

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