Media Dinosaurs Look To Set Up iTunes For News
from the haven't-we-seen-this-before? dept
Well, there they go again. Three big “media” names, who have been trying to convince themselves that there are enough people out there clamoring for someone to give them a way to pay for news, have decided to put together a company that will do just that. Stephen Brill, L. Gordon Crovitz and Leo Hindery Jr. have teamed up to create a system to charge for news, with the idea that any newspaper can sign up and use their system. Clay Shirky calls this an RIAA for news, while Mathew Ingram points out that it may be more accurate to call it an iTunes for news.
The problem, of course, is that this is all based on the faulty theory that people want an iTunes for news. This, of course, is great for other newspapers who know better, and decide to skip out on this plan, and get all the traffic that these newspapers give up. As Jeff Jarvis points out, in looking for news about this very venture, he was blocked by the paywall at some sites, and found the best coverage at a free site.
And, of course, it’s especially ironic that Stephen Brill is behind this. That’s because he’s tried this before and it failed. Miserably. Meanwhile, Hindery in the past has shown that he also is one of those guys who tends to overvalue content and undervalue everything else people do online (communicate, share, discuss). This whole model is based on this single faulty assumption: that it’s the news itself that’s important to people. It’s not. The news is important, but people want to be able to share the news, spread the news and discuss the news — and you can’t do that when it’s behind a paywall. The very act of putting up a paywall diminishes the value of the content.
Still, it’s a great opportunity for competitors of any newspaper short-sighted enough to sign up for this program.