Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bad Idea: Financial Times editor says most news websites will charge within a year

Here's a stupid idea:
In a speech in London, Financial Times Editor Lionel Barber said that within the next 12 months, news agencies will be charging access to their websites. The only matter that will be discussed, according to the editor, is whether they should charge per month or per article or possibly even both. "I confidently predict that within the next 12 months, almost all news organisations will be charging for content."

I already ignore news sites that currently charge. Heck, I often ignore sites that force you to register and log-in to read, even if it's free. Big media is trying to control information - but it's only going to drive people to more blogs (which are by nature, more one-sided and editorial in nature - regardless of the political slant). The model news agencies employ for television should work on the internet. Allow free access and sell advertising space. And you know what, any major news agency that doesn't charge when others start to will see a huge increase in traffic, and thus a huge increase in revenues.

This is what the political machines want. They want information limited, so that they can control public knowledge and dissent. Television and newspaper hope that by reigning in the internet, they'll drive people back to their dying media (paper, broadcast, cable...).

Less scrupulous interneters are just going to cut-and-paste relevant sections of stories into blogs and forums anyway.

"News" as a commodity is increasingly becoming a thing of the past - especially unbiased even-handed, straight-facts reporting. The supply online is limitless. But the demand for perspective and consolidated forums will be there, and that's what they need to focus on - getting hits so that people see those little money producing ads.

All this will do is put the final nail in the coffin of big news media.

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