Friday’s Memo – Who is Willing to Pay for News

It is an interesting debate and difficult to determine who has the better position.  Discussions focus mostly on newspapers because they are at the precipice but every journalist and producer of news is there also.

Nat Ives, writing for AdAge online, argues consumers will refuse to pay for what has always been free.  In his article he puts down counter argument television viewers pay for satellite and cable when over the air TV is free.  The comments following his report are interesting.  Some believe news should be free but the process of producing it should cost.

Ives concludes his opinion writing  “also keep in mind … cable companies are already freaked out by the possibility … too many people will drop their cable and satellite subscriptions — because they can watch many shows free on an apparently disruptive medium called the Internet."

A couple of web sites attempt to behave like public broadcasting in the United States and appeal to news and information consumers to pay or donate something toward continuation of service.  Global for Me is a newer Internet site asking for story suggestions and a donation to begin coverage.  GFM starts an investigation when there is enough donated to pay for coverage.

Spot us asks straight out when you see a story to help pay for journalism.  Like America’s National Public Radio they tell you how much has been raised and how much needs to be collected.

In my opinion, these concepts are variations on revenue models already in place.  However, as in all commerce a better product will earn revenues whether through advertising or subscription.  Understand the audience and direction follows.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing reviews the call for software writers in the newsroom.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


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