Print is dead: volgens Middleton

Reggie MiddletonIk volg al geruime tijd Reggie Middleton, een gepassioneerd blogger binnen het financiele domein. Hij neemt geen blad voor de mond, doet grondig onderzoek en heeft, voor zover ik kan beoordelen, diepgaande kennis over de onderwerpen waar hij over schrijft.

Hij heeft recent aangekondigd om (een deel van) zijn werk achter een paywall te gaan plaatsen. Bummer, hoewel het voor hard-core investeerders ongetwijfeld meer dan voldoende waarde zal gaan opleveren.

In een interview heeft hij zijn plannen wereldkundig gemaakt en tegelijkertijd de klassieke nieuwswereld (krantenuitgevers) haarfijn gefileerd. Dit laatste onderdeel van het interview geeft ik hieronder integraal weer, in het Engels. Simpelweg omdat het in mijn optiek de kern van de problematiek van uitgevers glashelder uit de doeken doet.

Many blogs don’t generate profits or have a clear or sustainable business model. I plan to be different (then again, I suppose so does everybody else). For one, I realize the folly of attempting to run a business on advertising revenue.

I also believe (actually, I know for a fact) that people and institutions are willing to pay for real, truly in depth analytical content. This is where the mainstream media is failing. When the paradigm shift into distributed computing and the resultant frictionless media model occurred, the mainstream media (MSM) fought it instead of embracing it. A typical old school reaction. As was inevitable, it was a fight that they were destined to lose. As they saw they weren’t winning, the MSM pared back the resources in its press room, slimming or eliminating investigative journalism and inhouse expertise at the very time when they should have been adding to, and building up those resources.

Long story short, they gutted their profit engines when they were most needed. Now, they are starving from trying to subsist off of volatile and dimishing ad revenue models, while at the same time throwing their arms up in bewilderment at their inability to charge directly for content. The reason why most of the MSM can’t charge for content on the web is not because content is given away for free. It is because much of the content is not worth paying for. Instead of breaking truly original, groundbreaking stories born from vigorous investigative journalism, media entities are repackaging AP and Reuters content.

Instead of thorough rigorous analysis of the issues, media entities are serving as the mouthpieces of special interest groups, simply distributing soundbites and media clips toting the party line. While the public seems to consume that fodder en masse, those with two synapses close enough to carry a spark will not pay for it. It is that very same proximal synapse crowd that you should be targeting with real meat, and it is that very same crowd that will cough up a few pennies to consume your content. And no, it is not available for free over the Web. It is too expensive to produce, and too valuable to have, to be disseminated as freely as the latest review of “Dancing with the Stars”.

Until the MSM get’s it, they will continue to be eaten by the Web while sticking their forks into the carcass of the rotting ad model, instead of feasting off of the ability to reach more people, more inexpensively than ever before. The key is that once you do reach them, you have to have something

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