Â On the Internet, no one knows you’re a professional, norÂ caresÂ enoughÂ to payÂ
Internet analyst Henry Blodgett wrote an op-ed piece that was courageously printed by the New York Times in August.Â In that article, BlodgettÂ assumed that theÂ Times converted entirely to digital distribution,Â losing most ofÂ the 90 percent of revenues it currrently earns from print. HeÂ reduced expenses to a lesser extent, then boosted online income but not by much because content on the Net is plentifully cheap. His conclusionÂ was summed up inÂ his title, “Running the Numbers: Why Newspapers Are Screwed.”
Â “only â€œdozensâ€ of the 1,500 sites he (Copeland)Â works with can can sustain their sites solely with ad revenues. Then, he said that the only blogs that attract significant brand advertising are those that can keep the ads separate from comments, which tend to make marketers uneasy with their unpredictability.” (emphasis added)
SoÂ big content and little content are both screwed by the Web. It is soÂ easy to publish and aggregateÂ content thatÂ few brands, not evenÂ those as powerful as the New York Times, can command a premium on the Web as evidenced by the Times’ decision to quitÂ charging for access.
Last May the BBC summarized aÂ global study ofÂ attitudesÂ aboutÂ news sourcesÂ that said in part:
“The most trusted media outlets around the world were large global news organisations such as the BBC or CNN.Â Internationally, 48% said they trusted the BBC, while 44% backed CNN. Younger web brands were also shown to have won significant public trust: Google (30%), Yahoo! (28%) and Microsoft/MSN (27%). “
Google, which employs no journalists,Â has become in a little over a decadeÂ the world’s third most trusted brand for news!Â McLuhan said theÂ mediumÂ is the message andÂ whenÂ it comes toÂ content the message of the Web is clear: you can find it all here; it’s all the same and it’s all worthÂ about whatÂ you paid for it,Â which is nothing, so feelÂ free to heed orÂ disdain this item before you click to whateverÂ strikes your fancyÂ next.
So not only are newspapers screwed but content in generalÂ is screwed. This is remarkable consideringÂ that most of the timeÂ people spend online revolves around content. Or soÂ says Pam Horan, president of the Online Publishers Association, inÂ summarizing the most recent in a series of surveysÂ conducted by Nielsen//NetRatings of the time-per-month spent onÂ the Web’s four key activities, Content, Communications, Commerce and Search.Â InÂ aÂ MediaPost articleÂ Horan writes:
“In the last four years, the share of time devoted to viewing Content online has experienced the greatest growth, increasing from 34% to 47% of time spent, outpacing all other activities.Â “
So why doesn’t content feel the love?