Thursday, May 7, 2009

The death of free media

It seems everyday that I hear something dismal, or dire regarding the economy and such. Newspapers all over are in frantic hand-wringing mode wondering where the money is going to come from. Here is a cogent quote from our friend and invited guest, Rupert. Rupert Murdoch, I mean.

"We are now in the midst of an epochal debate over the value of content and it is clear to many newspapers that the current model is malfunctioning," the News Corp. Chairman and CEO said.

"We have been at the forefront of that debate and you can confidently presume that we are leading the way in finding a model that maximizes revenues in return for our shareholders... The current days of the Internet will soon be over."

It seems that in a reverse of the trend towards free content, we will soon see a shift (or are we in one already?) to paid media, subscriber-funded. I recently noticed banners in some websites trumpeting the billionth (with a b) download of iphone apps. Someone out there (I don't have one, ahem...) surely is using their phone for a lot of browsing, a lot of something! but it's doubtless that some of those downloads are for apps meant to individualize and target content, paid content that we, using our laptops or desktop aren't flocking to.
Whether the Kindle 2 and later iterations, Iphone and others will change our reading habits remains to be seen. It could well be that this is just another quasi-prophetic statement from a media owner that becomes fodder for late night jokes.
Or it could be the real thing, and we should all get in on the action before we get left out. Foxnews has another illuminating bit on this.

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