In a recent column from Bob Cringely (his pseudonym), he boils down the real “business problem” for us in all media. The media advertising market itself is stagnant or shrinking –
There’s the old saying – “everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” Online, everyone wants a robust web experience, but it seems like nobody wants to pay.
OK – some of us pay. But just a fraction of the regular online-active users. Many users DO pay, but it is to AOL or Comcast or Roadrunner. Yahoo News may be the top internet portal, but most of their content comes from others (although I understand that they DO pay something for the privilege of using content from others). Other web news portals have been laying off staff and cutting back.
So how do we survive and thrive in an environment where “flat” revenue will be considered best case? Maybe this is cyclical, but I suspect it is not.
That’s where that “trust” and “ethics” theme returns. In public media, it is an edge, if we can keep it. Business models and technology don’t alone don’t sustain what we’re about – accurate, independent and accessible.