Some Back Pagers may’ve noticed the, erm, spirited exchange between self and J. Black of this parish subsequent to my Blog, ‘Paper Tiggers’. And if so, this the text of a letter I recently wrote to the Meedja Grauniad referred to therein may put it somewhat in perspective. If not, well what the hell.
“Oliver Luft and James Robinson’s piece on freelance woes (April 6th) had a resonance far beyond the newspaper industry but lacked the causal analysis which it merited. Migrating content onto the web where it can be consumed for free was a seen as a smart marketing tool by newspaper and magazine publishers alike, with the added prospect of attracting additional ad. revenues from the extra exposure.
But having become inured to free content, many (and soon most) readers aren’t willing to pay for ink on paper anymore and advertisers have driven down rates for internet advertising thanks to the vastly increased competition. Furthermore, if publishers continue to cut staff and freelance rates in response to declining revenues, the vicious circle will continue because core readers, especially the older ones with longer attention spans, who still value the tactile experience of ‘old media’ will be dismayed at the loss of quality, pagination and familiar bylines, prompting further desertions. As for a generation of consumers weaned on digital media, well they’re lost to us.
Now that the genie is out of the bottle, the print media’s failure to find a revenue model for web publishing may be it’s ultimate downfall, although a united effort to get ISPs to rake a minute levy for each page viewed could be its only viable solution. But as newspaper proprietors proved when they broke ranks with the advent of the daily freesheets (which have further undone their profitability), unity in this business is a tall order. Except, perhaps, when it comes to panic.”
They probably won’t publish it, anyway.
Don’t forget to eyeball my website (with its link to other Blogisms), www.markwilliamsmedia.co.uk