The Great Debate UK
-Dave Coplin is national technology officer at Microsoft. Any opinions expressed are his own.-
The British economy may technically be out of recession, but it is still not creating the jobs and growth needed to turn back the clock to the upbeat days of the past. And with a looming fiscal crisis, it’s not hard to see why some commentators are predicting the terminal decline of the British economy. I don’t think the situation for Britain is dire — yet. But if businesses want to regenerate economic engines in the future they do need to change.
Astute business leaders know that dramatic social, economic and political changes — in addition to changing workforce demographics, globalisation and rapid developments in social and business technologies — are now fusing together. Ultimately, they will affect every aspect of UK private enterprise – and competitiveness.
Having spoken to prominent industry figures and the Institute of Directors, I am more convinced than ever that the solution to this change is a move to a “hybrid” business model. That means UK businesses need to change their thinking, structures and operations and adopt a more flexible approach or lose out to more nimble competitors in the future.
The New York Times isn't the first major newspaper to charge for its online edition. Both the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times have pay schemes in place. But as a standard bearer for the general global news media -- rather than niche financial content -- its plans to put a value on its digital content bring a certain, and welcome, gravitas.
The approach is a better alternative to its aborted attempt five years ago to generate online subscription revenue by charging for access to its most popular columnists. As with FT.com, casual readers will continue to have access to an as yet to be determined number of big stories, generating the kind of traffic and search engine optimization that advertisers desire. Habitual readers, who value the Times as their go-to news source, will no longer eat as much as they like for free.
from The Great Debate:
There is nothing like the threat of a hanging to concentrate the mind.
The newspaper industry is in a collective panic over its future. The debate centers on the thorny issue of how publishers might find some way, any way, to make online readers to pay for what they read.
The fear is that the newspaper business model has suffered a mortal wound from the collapse of advertising that once funded it, and which has only accelerated in the current economic environment. Or perhaps it's the realization that younger generations reared on digital media will never settle down to buy print.