Old Media: You can't get there from here...
Blogged content could carry advertising links...
In the SF Chronicle this week there was a lot of discussion about old and new media. Dan Fost had a great front page feature and daily notes on the geek part of the South by Southwest festival which featured top bloggers such as Robert Scoble from Podtech.net.
And leading columnists Jon Carroll and David Lazarus discussed the economics of new media and how old media could fit into that landscape.
Mr Lazarus was encouraged by the Viacom suit against YouTube as this showed that "content is king" and that the economics of online media will shift from aggregators such as Google, to creators such as Viacom, and newspapers.
Content will be king
From my view as an online publisher, and coming from a mainstream media background, I would say that "content will be king" but it will take a while.
Right now, even if all the creators took away their content from Google, Yahoo, etc it wouldn't do much good. Because revenues from online advertising cannot support mainstream media's legacy infrastructure costs--buildings, layers of management, pension plans, trucks, printing presses, etc.
The billions that Google and the other new media companies make, are a fraction of the billions lost in conventional advertising markets. That's why it costs less to advertise online because the operating costs for a Google or Yahoo are far less than for old media companies.
A blogger with a laptop
Online advertising models can barely support popular bloggers, and that is the cost of one bedroom plus a laptop plus an Internet connection plus coffee.
Online advertising models are best at supporting technology-enabled media companies: servers and algorithms cost less than journalists, editors, printing presses etc.
Even if online advertising revenues were to double, it still wouldn't meet a fraction of the costs of running New York Times' global network of news bureaus.
As the saying goes...
"You can't get there from here" is my favorite American saying and it aptly describes the economic chasm separating old media from new media. I'd like to see how Geoffrey Moore thinks we could cross this one.
What we need is a better value recovery mechanism for content creators. Google or Yahoo ads are not returning enough value to the content creators. And locking up content behind a subscription firewall doesn't work because it cuts off the distribution power of the Internet.
Carry adLinks with blogged content
It would be better to offer content for free distribution provided it was shown along with its advertising links.
For example, you can freely distribute this post and make money from it, as long as you maintain all links in this article, a link back to the original, fully attributed--and you carry three of my text advertising links such as these:
-Silicon Valley Watcher-reporting on the culture of disruption.
If you blog about this post and quote some of it you would agree to carry at least one of my advertising links alongside your blog. As a blogger you wouldn't be forced to do it but it would be considered respectful to do it, and it would be seen by readers as such.
This might get a bit cluttered if blog posts are quoting each other and their advertising links, but that means people will go back to original sources for quotes to cut down on the advertising links.
A better value recovery mechanism
In this way, more value is returned to the creators which allows them to make more content. And it might even help old media transition over to new media economics. It is something I first proposed nearly one year ago. Let me know what you think.
Please see SVW
April 7 - 2006
April 4, 2006
Please see San Francisco Chronicle: