New business models for news

Here’s a first draft – sure to change – of a presentation I plan to give to open and set the table for the New Business Models for News Summit at CUNY. I won’t go through it lline-by-line that morning; I added more detail since I’m posting it here for your comment, correction, questions, arguments.

New Business Models for News

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: journalism media)

I should add that the conference is now oversubscribed for the space. Sorry.

  • Looks great. Will there be a video (live/stored) of the talk? Atleast an audio recording?

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  • You must be happy about this trend: The New York Times reported this morning that news organizations are actually starting to embrace linking to other online publications (“Mainstream News Outlets Start Linking to Other Sites“).

  • Jeff, you may be too conservative! You say: “Do what you do best, link to the rest” and you present the “distributed” case, yet when you list “Newsroom efficiencies” you’ve staffed an organization that, like today’s newsrooms, tries to do everything.

    My guess is that the care, feeding, selection, editing, and career path for sports reporters is distinctly different from that required for entertainment or business reporters. Thus, I would expect that in a really distributed newsroom, the sports reporters would probably work for a sports news network that was, in many ways, distinct from the entertainment, local news, culture, or business news networks. I imagine that sports reporters and business journalists would start working in the boondocks and then, as they develop their skills, they would migrate to cover stories with broader scope — potentially after having moved within their organizations to different towns.

    It makes sense that a “newsroom’ might provide common local facilities for journalists covering a variety of topics, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense to have them all on the same budget — or even working for the same corporation. One extreme model would have the “newsroom” budgeted simply as an “office hotel” that leased space to local journalists and focused primarily on facilities support and “curating” of a local view of news. In such a newsroom, the only journalists who actually work for the newsroom itself would be those that covered hyper-local general news.

    bob wyman

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  • I like your focus on local news. I think that is where the biggest value add is created.

    I think your WWGD idea is misguided. Keyword search advertising has nothing to do with online news publication, in my opinion. Apples and oranges — keyword search is closely connected to an ecommerce transaction, while online news is not.

    My suggestion: do a bit more with the only other area of online advertising (other than keyword search) that works: classified advertising pageviews. A presentation filed by Yahoo! with the SEC earlier this year showed an expected CPM for search page views of $40 and an expected CPM for classified page views of $50. Classified page views actually pay better than search page views, according to Yahoo!

    Here is a link to that presentation from Yahoo!:

    Your focus on local news ties in nicely with classified advertising. There could be an opportunity there for your industry.

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  • I agree with Chris (a rare thing!)

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  • While you’re in the process of destroying old institutions and making up new business models, maybe you could kill off that old 1960s six-grade science artifact retread called “The Powerpoint Presentation”. They are facile and dumb down thought.

    Now, as for your model, it depends too heavily on linkage. Linkage belongs to a closed society, the society of the bazaar, where relationships and connections and long hours to parse metadata (or huge info dumps to take the place of long f2f hours). It’s only one way to run an economy, and not the modern way. Modern economies have spent centuries trying to free human beings from forced reliance on connections to engage in commerce or consume. You, like other technocommunists, want to collectivize us all again and put us back in the dark ages. It’s ok to have Tupperware Parties and Renaissance Faires and sell through connectivity and linkage, but it can’t be the only type of economy.

    The modern economy depends on search, but also freedom from metadata, you don’t need a relationship to find and buy something put at a public price tag, the marketplace instead of the bazaar. The Internet succeeded not because copyleftists like you stripped away the connection between private property, intellectual property, and commerce, but because despite your engineering and collectivist boostering (like Creative Commons), businesses like ebay and amazon were able to get started and thrive. It’s when ebay tried to start layering in “reputations” and too-high threshold costs, and when amazon began to layer in sales ranking that they grew less free. When Facebook changed the news feed to favour linkage-mania recently, they saw a 25 percent or more drop in revenue from APIs.

    A creepy thing we already see about local news as a panacea is that all kinds of APIs and aggregator sites are springing up to generically suck local social media and MSM feeds and pipe them into prefabbed templates. No thanks.

    I also have to wonder what sort of business model you could possibly mean when you recommend Google to take over the business of telecoms, too. Ugh. And to think that one of the biggest complaints of the geeks about telecoms is that they have no competition (of course they do).

  • How do we reconcile the fact that while local news has a proven, built-in audience, the ad revenues from a hyperlocal site would be by definition smaller than revenues from a larger site that encompasses a larger geographic area?

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