Online News Has No Choice But To Be Free

from the indeed dept

There's a great opinion piece by Shane Richmond on the website for the UK's Telegraph newspaper, pointing out that various newspaper execs complaining about the fact that news is free online seem to be missing the point. They are complaining about news being available for free, and claiming that if newspapers had agreed to charge online from the beginning things would be different. But, as Richmond points out, the only real way they'd be different is that no one would get their news from newspapers (online or otherwise) any more. News was going to be free online from the beginning because it's the fundamental nature of information. When it's abundant, it becomes free. That's your basic economics of supply and demand at work. The whole theory that newspapers could charge is based on the false assumption that the only sources for news would be newspapers. If all newspapers charged, it would open up a huge opportunity for other news sources to make the news free online -- and then why would people pay the newspapers? It's sad, in this day and age, that so many newspaper execs still don't understand this basic fact -- because, until they do, they'll never really be able to adopt web-aged business models. Instead, they'll just keep (incorrectly) regretting that they didn't charge.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: business models, economics, free, newspapers

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Aneel mushtaq, 10 Jun 2009 @ 2:13am


    I am writing you from inside Pakistan. The people of Pakistan and the USA need to be friends. We are part of your world family. Pakistanis strongly admire almost everything we know about the USA including your problems. If only we could have such problems.

    My name is Aneel. I am 24 and my fiancé, Pawan, lives six hours away near the Swat Valley where there is all this conflict today. We are both the directors of a network of small schools with thousands of students run by young women and mothers. They learn literacy and skills. Women that were trapped in their homes out of fear make us all proud when they read poetry to their husbands and become teachers.

    These women are making beautiful hand embroidered flowers on patches to sell and pay for their tuition. It would be a great collaboration to send these patches to people in the USA who need work and could make something practical, like shopping bags, out of them as a sort of home business. We could help each other and share the profit. Please take a look at our website and if you see some possibilities, then join hands with us, your family far away

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.