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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Online Newspapers

I have been using online newspapers for many years. What I am not clear about is where the money stream is. I know that for most newspapers, the major source of income is advertising. I am not clear where the advertising for these sites come from. I understand that there are transferable skills in journalism, but newspaper websites require significantly more maintenance and currency is about 10 minutes.

So where is the return for online newspapers? The article looks at the Washington Post.com, which has a very good and successful site, actively supported by the company. Even so,the online portion of the business is being subsidised heavily by one of the most successful local newspapers in the world. The Washington Post has the highest penetration for a local paper in America, a fantastic international reputation, a very cheap print price (35 cents) and a very good location for a newspaper.

When I lived in Washington in the 1980s and 1990s, the newspaper was very much a part of the culture. I have no idea what it looks like now, but it was a very comprehensive offering in those days. As the article says, if newspapers like the Washington Post cannot make a commercial go of online newspapers, then there are going to be some very unhappy newspaper owners around the world. I mean I use these resources daily and doubt if I could list more than one or two of the advertisers who underpin these very comprehensive offerings. Very few charge for access and those who do are almost automatically clicked through.

I suppose that I like many bloggers have an interest in this, since I cannot blog effectively without access to these sources. Is there going to be a time when we cannot just tap into these resources without charge? Is advertising going to become so in your face that it will be unpleasant to use?

9 comments:

Larry Sheldon said...

Where is the return? Where it has always been--advertizing and "advertizing".

Colin Campbell said...

Yes just different kinds of advertising. It just seems like a huge amount of work text,photos, interaction, comment modification, podcasts...just to tell some simple stories.

Theo Spark said...

A lot of blogs are now beating the papers to the stories. In 10 years the papers may have been replaced by certain blogs.

Crushed said...

If they were to start to charge, something else woul rweplace it as our source of information.
The speed with which Wikipedia articles are updated is alarming.
For example, you see an MP has died, the same day the election has its own stub in Wikipedia.

Its becoming harder and harder to sell information.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of adding extra ads to my site...what do you think?

Colin Campbell said...

I ignore all ads to the extent that I can. I am fairly sure that I have never clicked on any except explicit porn links.

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