Friday, February 05, 2010

If ads can't be relied upon to pay for quality journalism, what is the alternative?

There is a view among the big heads in the digital world that publishing won't be saved by advertising. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban represents the prevailing view that aggregators like Google are vampires that suck dry the creative content of magazines and newspapers and other online sites. And says that advertising cannot be relied upon to pay for journalistic content on the web and on mobile devices of various kinds.
If that is so, what is the alternative? My view has been that it's an either-or proposition. Either advertising will continue to provide the majority of revenue for traditional and online-delivered content; or it won't. And, if it won't, then isn't the only alternative to gradually, or not so gradually, educate end users to pay a larger proportion of the costs of providing robust content? To treat it like they are stakeholders and to seize back control of their favourite publications/sites from the advertisers?
Funny thing is, though, that the same big heads who dismiss online advertising also tend to dismiss reader-supported research and journalism. Which leaves publishers with a big head-ache. If they're going to invest in anything, should it be building a business model based on subscriptions or on advertising?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A long time ago, I happened to be in the head office of Pepsi Canada. At the front office there was a big sign: WE SELL SODA. Most big advertisers (aka Pepsi) don't have any particular affinity for one type of media over the other. All they care about is what brings them the biggest bang for their marketing buck. THEY SELL SODA...
they don't care how it's done, as long as it gets done!

Magazine publishers are DELUDING themselves if they believe that somehow advertisers will not re-assess things and continue their march forward to digital. Mass market advertisers will continue to move out of magazines. I believe niche publications will have a better chance of survival - but they will have to be swift and very creative...and they will have continuously step up their game.

Read The Chaos Scenario by Bob Garfield NOW.

12:43 pm  

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