Saturday, 29 August 2009

Can Bloggers Benefit From Press Collapse?

It's ironic that this year the print media has been full of the imminent death of newspapers.
Media companies have been hammered by a combination of continuing falls in newspaper sales and sharply lower advertising revenues, largely blamed on the recession.
The truth is that for the past five years newspaper sales have been in decline and the recession has only expedited the downfall.
Enders Analysis, the Media research service, has announced that they expect as many as half of the UK's local and regional newspapers to shut within the next five years and they see casualties in the national titles as many are running at a loss and are only being sustained by the good graces of their owners.
The Guardian Group are mulling over pulling the Observer and the Independent has been on life support for some time and is widely expected to be the first to pull down the shutters.
Press journalism is facing an array of tough decisions as to how to respond and at the moment it is not answering the questions with any conviction.
Some newspapers have raised the cover price to make up the shortfall from their regular readers while others have slashed the price to attract more to their title. It will be interesting which of these two business models succeed.
Other titles have moved away from the traditional idea of reporting news in favour of sex, scandal and celebrity. The Daily Star has taken this route, along with a price cut, and has seen sales increase by 20%.
The Murdoch press is still formulating plans to charge for accessing the information on their websites, a plan that it is hard to see as achievable as the abundance of free information sources online mean that readers cannot be expected to pay for access to news. The situation is even worse in Britain due to the BBC's mandate to remain free. With an online operation that is publicly funded it skews the UK's media landscape away from paid-for online news entirely.
Advertising revenue collapse, falling sales, 24 hour news stations, the availability of free online news sources and the fight over those willing to pay to fill the white space between the articles means newspapers will inevitably close or at the very least instigate a major overhaul of how they operate.
To some this is not seen as a negative thing, merely inevitable and part of the process of technological and social evolution.
The biggest winners are going to be those with the deepest pockets and altruistic owners but online media, and bloggers in particular, could become a vital part of the new shape of information sharing.
If groups from the tens of millions of bloggers can get their act together and offer up a single website with bloggers contributions and an equal share of the profits to contributors, then they could step in to fill the inevitable gap that is swiftly due to open up.

3 comments:

Nog said...

as egotistical as I may be, I "ain't got nothin'" on the BBC, CNN, or even Fox News.

And a lot of what I, and other bloggers, do is respond to pieces by major news sources. So I don't know that bloggers are exactly in the same business as groups like the BBC, CNN, and Fox. If there was nothing to respond to or correct, what would we do?

-Nog

Anonymous said...

some might consider a web site like "The Drudge Report" to be a blog, so yes bloggers can gain from the demise of the press...

but as Nogalito noted even most of the stuff on Drudge is content from the press...

q

Lucy said...

You give the BBC, CNN and FOX too much credit Nog. While they may have the resources to put reporters in the field, they still rely on reacting to the same news wires, websites, press releases and contacts as is available to everyone else.
What a group of bloggers would bring is expertise in their field. Imagine a site that can call upon pieces from bloggers working in fields such as music, finances,
education, politics, sport, health or technology. You think of a news story in any area and there would be a wealth of experience on the bloggers list to call upon to cover it.