Wednesday, May 07, 2008

News For Free

A recent survey among the world's newspaper editors shows that most think that whether their product is available in print or online, it will most likely be free in coming years.

The Zogby poll also shows that making the changeover to an online presence follows the adage of "Innovate.Integrate. Or Perish":

According to the survey, 56 percent of respondents believed that the majority of news, be it via print or online, would be free in the future.

That was up from 48 percent who answered yes a year ago.

Those leaning towards the free model mostly came from 'emerging' newspaper markets in areas such as South America, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Asia where 61 percent of respondents believed news would be free.

Respondents in Western Europe were less likely to believe in news becoming free, with 48 percent of news executives thinking it likely, while North American editors were on par with the average.

The newspaper industry has been hit in recent years by the push to move content online and executives still saw many problems ahead.

According to 704 senior news executives surveyed, the greatest threat to the industry was the declining number of young people who read newspapers while the increasing emphasis on speed meant only 45 percent of editors thought the quality of journalism would improve over the next 10 years.

More than a quarter thought it would become worse."

Last week I took some time to browse through a Borders bookstore in Knoxville, and made a few realizations - mainly that I seldom if ever buy a magazine or newspaper anymore since I can access almost all the information from nearly any publication whenever I wish via online services. It's a change I had not really noticed, but it is a major shift.

In years past, I would usually spend quite a bit each month not only for the publications, but also in the cost of reaching outlets where the info was for sale. No more. No matter how large or small the magazine or paper I seek, I'd say at least 90% is available for free online. I'm able to get it faster, too, and get it in pretty much the same way I did when purchasing the magazine itself, with plenty of graphics and photos. With the online access, I can also see video related to the topics I'm reading as well.

It's a change the public demanded and that publishers for the most part have been diligently working to make possible. Charging fees online or limiting the content available seems to be a dying trend, too. It is a massive benefit for those of us who read and seek information - but I'm sure the biggest challenge for publishers remains how to keep their businesses profitable.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:12 PM

    As a professional journalist, if all news is "Free" it will be worth the price. I can't work for free, and my 30+ years of experience should be worth paying for. You want journalistic integrity? Want to trust what you read, hear? Need standards? Any fool can write stuff on line. My God! Look at what's out there. Do you trust every word?
    Certainly, not every professional journalist is trustworthy (Fox News, anyone?) But we need a baseline. If you're not willing to pay a dollar a day for a newspaper or $3 for a monthly magazine, who do you think will be out there providing your information? As in government, the lowest bidder isn't always a good choice.
    Sincerely (in a snit and with my panties in a wad)