Comments on: Free may be a radical price, but is it progressive? Wed, 16 Nov 2016 01:37:11 +0000 hourly 1 By: Lisa Fri, 17 Jul 2009 23:14:47 +0000 The biggest problem with “free” news is the lack of credibility. When you’re reading a newspaper, you have reasonable confidence that the information therein has been fact-checked and edited, but on the internet there are no guarantees. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between a legitimate news source and a blog. Sometimes blogs are legitimate news sources.

Having said that, I haven’t touched a newspaper in almost 20 years. They’re large, unwieldy, the print rubs off on your hands, and there is no search function. Computers are a far superior medium for news delivery, and it’s too bad the newspaper industry failed to adapt fifteen years ago when they could have maximized their profit potential.

In my opinion, the television news industry has a similar quandary. As metropolitan areas have expanded to include hundreds of square miles, the “local” news has become increasingly less local. I don’t care about murders and burglaries three towns over; I want to know about my town. As for the world news, we used to have seasoned, intelligent news anchors, and we now have buffed, Botoxed morons. I’d rather get my news from someone who actually understands what they’re saying.

The news industry, much like the auto industry, simply failed to read the writing on the wall. They’re dinosaurs.

By: Anubis Thu, 16 Jul 2009 18:44:49 +0000 Evidently the meaning of “There is no free lunch” has been lost to the present generation.

By: krishnamurthi ramachandran Thu, 16 Jul 2009 16:18:45 +0000 Dear Writer,
your article for the above topic is very interesting.
After going through of your sayings,i came to conclude that,major newspapers initially providing free access to their newspapers,Later on they want to make it as online charges.
Once their membership has been increased through internet,they want to get profit for internet service.
This is not a good sign.
Are they not getting revenue from advertisement,government notifications and from big business houses.
We are paying good amounts to broadband connectors.
Let all newspapers will do it by free on internet.

By: alastairw Wed, 15 Jul 2009 15:57:22 +0000 As far as I can see, most people under 30 have stopped reading, especially anything which is `too hard.’ Complex ideas, analysis, even big words, are seen as a distinct no-no in mainstream media now. It is pitiful to see intelligence despised, and even feared, in Britain. It’s more important to be a celebrity, to be famous for something, than almost anything else for the next generation. Tragic.

Worse still, a general diminishing of people’s attention span can be seen across the media, from `Scooby Doo’ plots in TV soaps/dramas, to the 2 minute news stories pasted across the web. News, like Jacko’s death, or the riots in Iran, spreads like wildfire, then burns itself out after being blogged, twittered and Digged to destruction by every numpty with a forum-based axe to grind.

The depressing future is one where the government controls what we read, or watch, spies on us from the cradle to the grave and there is no independent media.

If you look at UK advertising spend on radio, mags and papers now, possibly 30%-50% of the regular advertising is public sector funded. Large private companies have diversified from TV and press ads into a mix of e-marketing, junk mail and targeted online sponsorship. The supermarkets, white goods and car retailers won’t be coming back to press ads like they did in the early 90s recession. Without advertising from a diverse base, there can be no truly independent newspaper, magazine or website – they are beholden to their main source of funding.

10 years from now, an army of part-time, semi-literate bloggers and tweeters will spread local news `content,’ on behalf of big companies, councils and the ever-watching government. For peanuts rates of pay. Those who regard journalists now as lying lowlifes, willing to invent stories for cash, aint seen nothing yet…

By: Giles Rocholl Tue, 14 Jul 2009 14:28:30 +0000 People havent much changed in thousands of years. They just want their needs met, newspapers used to be an essential help in meeting those needs. Now TV, the internet, and mobile phones plus games consoles are doing a better job in many areas.

When I asked my 14 year old son how many of his mates have iPhones, he looked at me as if I were stupid (and he may have a point) and said,’ all of them!” (I then bought 10K of Apple shares…seriously!)

Correct spelling isnt important to his generation, having the right accessories and fitting in is. He spends most of his free time on Xbox Live chatting with friends all over the world, he doesnt see barriers, practices his leadership and cooperation skills with his mates and has a lot of fun. He is risk adverse and hardly ventures into town probably because his short life has had a background message from the media of war, terrorism, drink, violence, knife crime and drugs problems…so his choice is to stay in and get his needs met through XBox live and I dont blame him.

As for newspapers, as the former Pic Editor of the Yorkshire Post I am afraid I have witnessed first hand the innability and lack of business accumen from the Regional Media Managers who fail to see they were in the business of communication and making money out of new opportunities and not in flogging newspapers to people who have little need for them anymore.

There is a huge vacuum opening up at the local community communication level that will be filled by an organisation smart enough to see the opportunity and large enough to exploit it..possibly Tescos.

Tescos could distribute a weekly mag/directory through their stores offering discounts and special offers whilst serving the community and holding its attention with 24hr new media broadcasting accross multiple distribution channels….. I for one would pay for a text that told me what was happening in town tonight.

Its only a matter of time before the sharper smarter minds deliver what the Newspaper industry is failing to do. The sooner the better!

By: Richard P Tue, 14 Jul 2009 13:15:25 +0000 While I will be sad to see the impact on jobs through the decline in print media, I loathe the way politics are carried out through our papers. I refuse to buy any at all for that reason, and don’t read free ones either. I’m not interested in their politics agendas.

By: Elliot Mackenzie Tue, 14 Jul 2009 12:40:38 +0000 The market will consolidate, shrink and eventually start making healthy profits again.

The market for news operates here no differently than it does anywhere else. The problem is not that media is generally available for free nowadays, it is that there is too much supply.

In years gone by (pre-internet) much of the mainstream media was geographically focussed which meant that tailoring the news to a particular audience gave a competitive advantage which gobbled up a lot of the supply. Now that mainstream news is consumed globally, a lot (but not all) of the geographic advantages have weakened significantly. The same level of supply we had in past years has become, relatively speaking, too much.

Evidence of this is all over. Check CNN or BBC – there are articles there cut and pasted (more or less) from Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg and so on. These same articles you could probably find on NBC, Digg, ITV and so on. Aggregation sites are doing well not because they are collecting or delivering news as such, but because they are filtering news which appeals to a particular demographic (eg The Register). As for mainstream media, what is the public offered by having the same news available in the same form in hundreds of places?

What will eventually happen is that a great number of news organisations will merge or quit (increasingly frequently across national borders), and yes a lot of their valuations will diminish. We’re already starting to see this, but there will be much more consolidation to come.

This is exactly how markets _should_ work. Right now the public is consuming free news because consuming it in one place has no advantage over consuming it in another. And if somehow the market ‘agrees’ simultaneously to set prices for news, there are anti-trust laws in most countries which forbid this (and for good reason).

Once the excess supply has dried up, the remaining value will become much more clear. What and where that value will end up, right now is anyone’s guess.

By: farnaby Tue, 14 Jul 2009 09:47:49 +0000 The reasons for people using the internet is because it is free (especially if people use free software). We don’t have to pay for it and it is relatively free from censorship. Newspapers and TV are also passive media. We have to take whatever lies are directed at us. We can have no input, except, in a very limited way, subject to their editorial control. All newspapers (including the free ones) and television are working for government or corporate interests. There are also many government and corporate agents working, at all levels, in any mainstream media that government or corporations do not directly control.

If you think that people will go back to paying for expensive government or corporate propaganda now that there are alternatives to it, you are fooling yourselves.

By: Simon Drake Tue, 14 Jul 2009 07:23:13 +0000 Free content is usually ‘base’ content and offers very little value, e.g. the Metro and LondonLite free papers. If you want quality information, be it news, reviews or A-lister gossip, you have to pay for it, and people will pay for it. Newspapers will not die, however, if they hand over their content creation to lobby groups and PR campaigns, then they deserve a slow decline.
Yes things have changed, but it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning!

By: Lucy P. Tue, 14 Jul 2009 01:36:01 +0000 If all newspapers required a fine to view their sites, I wish there’d be a massive boycott. But likely people would pay anyway. The problem for the media is to coordinate their effort so the change occurs contemporaneously. Otherwise, no one would go to the site that you had to pay for; they’d all flock to the free ones.