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Friday, October 9, 2009

Up Next at 10, News' IPO on NASDAQ

Ok here is the article that started this rant off, Article from the San Jose Mercury News.

I will give you a second to read it.... Ok got it? Great. Now here are my thoughts:

Call me naive, go ahead, sometimes I am, but my idea of news is that its function is to educate and inform the broadest audience possible. As I was growing up and having only 3-4 television stations in my home the news was a good portion of what I was consuming on a regular basis. The News in my view wasn't sensationalized or really thought provoking to be honest but I was kept aware of what was going on around me and thus learned often some essential information. Now as I am older the above article only solidifies something that I have been noticing in National and some local News productions (I call them productions rather than casts for illustrative purposes). These productions seem to have adapted their story writing and videography to make each story dramatic, comedic, or sensational. Can I blame them? These stations are now competing against an every growing list of stations for advertising dollars. Also, as the Internet has gained in popularity and stations have lost viewers to online destinations they have had to adapt their news productions to compete these online competitors.

Here is my main point, when does charging for people to view this content start and when does it end. It seems Rupert would like to assert that all News should charge for access rather than just premium content. Aren't users already paying for content via viewing advertising and in some cases purchasing Cable or Satellite packages? Is there going to be a time in the future when only the privileged and wealthy will know about the string of murders around the corner. Are we going back to a time when "News" is something told word of mouth or futuristically word-of-blog? Is my neighbor going to have to be the one to let me know the new laws our legislature just passed because I don't have the $5,000 per year to pay for my "News" subscription?

Honestly I really do get it that television stations are trying to recoup the money that they are expending on their online and traditional news reporting. I thought this used to be recouped through selling advertising and promotions. Is this media's knee-jerk reaction to a recession based problem or is this going to be an ongoing issue where advertisers rather place their ads where people are going. If people are going to other places I would think it would signal big media that something is wrong with their model and not vice-versa. Here are some questions big media should ask and be able to answer:
1) What are the aggregators offering that we are not? Objective media from a variety of sources?
1a) What can we do about it? Cut off society from all News stories we create and make them pay for it?

2) What is driving people to use these sites rather than our stories that have the same information and we work hard at presenting?
2a) Are money issues getting in the way of presenting what the public needs?

3) Are advertisers find these areas more attractive because people are there or because of the conglomeration of content?
3a) How do we keep our advertisers and attract new ones?

I think I have said what I want to say. As always tell me if I am way off the ball on this. Thanks for listening!!

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