Journalism Could Be Funded By Advertising… If The News Organizations Gave A Reason To Advertise
from the disconnect dept
Mathew Ingram draws our attention to a thoughtful analysis of the journalism business model question, where it’s noted that even a smaller amount of online advertising could clearly support journalistic endeavors — especially if you take out the costs of printing newspapers and delivery. The problem, according to the analysis, is that advertisers have been way too slow to move from print advertising to online advertising. If there were a way to speed up the process, there would hardly be any complaining at all.
From a numerical point of view, this sounds right, but it may be missing a big piece of the puzzle. Throughout all of these debates, no one has explained why those advertisers should support newspaper websites. Those newspapers have done little to add real value over the past few years, while plenty of other online sites have actively embraced their communities, and done so in a way where advertisers can derive much more value putting ad dollars towards those communities, than the “hands-off” communities created by so many newspaper sites. The problem isn’t that advertisers have been slow to switch to online advertising, but that the newspapers have done a terrible job building sites where it’s worthwhile to advertise, and haven’t done much at all to provide advertising options that are valuable. Instead, they treat it like a backlit version of the newspaper, where they’ll show display ads. Yet, advertisers are quickly learning that display ads are ignored, and they also recognize that newspapers have done little to nothing to cultivate true online communities. So why should they advertise on a newspaper site when they can get much better returns elsewhere?