New Denver News Startup Discovering (Again) People Aren't So Interested In Paying For News

from the let's-try-this-again... dept

While we thought it was great that a group of former reporters from the suddenly-closed Rocky Mountain News were trying to form a new online venture called the InDenver Times, we thought it was quite unlikely that the group would actually be able to get 50,000 people to agree to pay them $5/month by April 23rd. That was the self-appointed deadline set by the group. And, in fact, as we approach the 23rd, Romenesko alerts us that the group is is struggling to even find 10,000 people willing to subscribe. That isn't too surprising. There remain other (free) sources of news, and they're trying to get people to agree to pay for a product that doesn't even exist. The fact that they've got almost 10,000 is impressive enough. That said... while the group still clings to the idea of a subscription model, they're also saying that they'll move forward even without the necessary subscribers. Hopefully that gets them exploring more reasonable business models, because $50,000 a month from subscribers isn't going to go very far.
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Filed Under: denver, journalism, news, paying
Companies: indenver times


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2009 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Re: Fark Did It

    Why should someone else sustain the newspapers. Isn't that the newspapers' job?

    I never said that anyone else should sustain the newspapers. I said that newspapers, even online, are probably fundamentally unsustainable. To make them sustainable would mean they would need to turn into something else that's not what we'd call a newspaper (even an online newspaper).

    You are clearly overvaluing the content, and undervaluing the delivery.

    What part of "the magic of the Internet [is that] aggregation is (much) more valuable than content creation." indicates that I overvalue content and undervalue delivery?

    Aggregators need something to aggregate. Fark is a meta-aggregator right now: it aggregates content from other aggregators. Fark's problem in the long term will be that the other aggregators, not Fark, are the ones paying for the raw content at this point. But this is not a big problem, because eventually the free ride will be over, and Fark (and others) will have to pay for the raw content themselves (or else get some other sucker to pay for it).

    I get the impression that you think that aggregators create content, or that there's all this content just sitting around and the aggregators just pick it up. If that were true newspapers wouldn't have to pay the AP for news feeds, and nobody including the AP would have to hire reporters.

    Suppose my city had two competing newspapers, each with the same content (aggregators). One of the newspapers was delivered to my doorstep (presentation) whereas the other one was delivered at the bottom of driveway. I would rather choose the one that was delivered to my doorstep.

    Where does the content come into play in that scenario?


    Uh, the content is in those two newspapers. I presume if both newspapers had no content at all, or shitty low quality content, you would just ignore them both.

    Why do some people choose Digg instead of Fark

    I presume that some people like to read dozens of Ron Paul articles and other people like to look at pictures of ugly-ass baby animals, and that both groups really enjoy the endless stream of dubious-quality uninformed meme-filled posts attached to the articles.

    I have no beef about the increasing diversity and quality of aggregators on the Net. I rather enjoy them. But I also know that Fark didn't send someone to the Podunk Zoo to take a picture of that ugly-ass baby Panda, and they didn't have anybody write the article about the birth of the ugly-ass Panda, and that it's unlikely that the person who took the picture and wrote the article was the one who submitted it to Fark. I doubt they even know who Fark is. In fact, I'd venture it wasn't even the Zoo itself that published the article. It was a local newspaper. And I'd bet that the person who saw the article and submitted it to Fark didn't get the information from the Zoo, I bet they got it while they were reading the newspaper's site.

    You have to give them an incentive to give you money. If the incentive you provide isn't bringing in the money... perhaps you should try a different incentive instead of just flailing your arms and screaming.

    Right, and what's that alternative incentive for newspapers? I think the answer is: they probably don't have one, and they probably won't be able to come up with one before the money runs out. Flailing and screaming seems like a perfectly reasonable reaction. It's OK, the money will run out sooner or later, and that'll stop the flailing and screaming.

    My hypothesis, though, is that Fark and Digg and Google News, which do have such incentives, don't have a sustainable business model right now, because the suppliers of a critical component (news and other content) of their working business model are likely to go belly-up. If some cataclysm or crisis suddenly caused 80% of steel suppliers to go out of business, and you're Toyota or GM, you'd better be worried. You'd probably be worried enough that you'd actually consider buying a steel company.

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