- Steven Brill, Co-Founder, Journalism Online, LLC
- Chris Ahearn, President, Reuters Media, Thomson Reuters
- Mark Bide, Director, Rightscom Ltd.; Project Director, Automated Content Access Protocol
- Lauren Rich Fine, Research Director, ContentNext Media
- Jeff Jarvis, Associate Professor, Director of the Interactive Program, City University of New York, Graduate School of Journalism
- Josh Marshall, Founder and Editor, Talking Points Memo
- Srinandan Kasi, Vice President and General Counsel, Associated Press
- Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land
- Robert Thomson, Managing Editor, The Wall Street Journal; Editor-in-Chief, Dow Jones & Co.
Nearly five years after MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913 (2005), transformed the freewheeling world of free online music sharing into the fee-based business model of iTunes, newspapers are arguing for similar legal enforcement of their intellectual property rights online. The enemy is no longer peer-to-peer (P2P) software. Rather, the new alleged enemy is “news aggregators,” such as Google News.
Similar to P2P software, news aggregators enable users to find copyrighted content by consolidating information in one easy-to-access location. Users can view headlines from multiple news sources and, depending on the aggregator, excerpts and photo thumbnails from their web browsers, mobile devices, or desktops. Unlike P2P, news aggregators do not facilitate access to unlawful full-text copies. Aggregators link directly to the original news stories.
Newspapers argue that systematic and comprehensive redistribution of their headlines and other content by aggregators brings economic benefit to those providers without compensation to the news creators. New media advocates argue that news aggregators constitute lawful ‘fair use’ and exemplify how technological innovation can improve online journalism and public access to public affairs news.
At last week’s FTC Workshop on Journalism and the Internet, a panel of nine industry experts addressed, “Emerging Business Models for Journalism.” The panel consisted of representatives from print publishers, online media organizations, new media advocates, and academia. The 9-person panel included two lawyers: Srinandan Kasi, General Counsel for the Associated Press and Steven Brill, a graduate of Yale Law School and co-founder of Journalism Online, Inc. Also, Brill founded CourtTV and the American Lawyer magazine.
Below is a summary, followed by notes of what each speaker said. See the archived webcast.
Panelists Tell the FTC – Let the Marketplace Decide
The panelists essentially told the FTC that no regulatory or legislative changes are needed to copyright law and its enforcement, antitrust law, or tax policy. The general attitude was that the FTC should continue its light regulatory approach and laissez-faire attitude toward the marketplace. Jeff Jarvis emphatically and explicitly told the FTC to “Stay off the lawn!” He also asserted that Rupert Murdoch, Arianna Huffington, Steve Brill, and he all agree on that. Most of the discussion focused on actions that market actors can take to modify existing business strategies to better monetize news content and to diversify revenue streams.
Missed Opportunities – Potentially Beneficial Legal and Regulatory Changes
Given that the panelists were specifically asked to consider proposals requiring possible FTC action or recommendations to Congress, I was disappointed that the panelists did not use this unique opportunity before the FTC to address six regulatory, legislative, and judicial changes that could benefit existing and emerging business models for journalism. See my other blog posting on How Government Can Help Newspapers and Online Journalism.
FTC Disclosure Requirements
I particularly want to point out that no panelist brought up the controversial updates to the FTC Disclosure Rules for Endorsements and Testimonials in October 2009. The newly revised FTC guidelines now require “social media,” including bloggers, with “material connections” to a sponsor to disclose that information. The public policy behind the endorsement disclosure guidelines is to help prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. Violators who fail to reveal that they received a product, a service, a payment, or even some type of “freebie” without telling the users about the compensation, could face penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. Are the emergent business models for journalism consistent with the revised endorsement rules? Should the rules be reconsidered? If so, what should be changed? With the numerous websites, bloggers, and web services out there, how will enforcement impact the online news industry? Will new market entrants fly under the radar as ‘small fish’? Conversely, will enforcement drive new market entrants, who generally lack access to in-house lawyers or rules from a General Counsel’s office, out of business? Do the requirements, and will its enforcement, stifle certain types of technical innovation? See 16 C.F.R. Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising: Notice Announcing Adoption of Revised Guides and the Federal Register Notice.
Two Lawyers – Two Perspectives
The two lawyers on the panel represented the somewhat contrasting viewpoints of traditional media versus new media. First, Steven Brill of Journalism Online, LLC agreed with the representatives of established news media companies that “journalism needs to be professional and needs to be paid for” and that revenue will likely be multi-sourced. He, however, asserted that engaged users will voluntarily donate to news organizations to support content they value. He also stated, “”We know that search engines are our friends.” Yet, he did not clarify if that means that news aggregators are also “friends.” Nor did he clarify what constitutes fair use, which was disappointing because his business model is premised on an affiliates model. Thus, he asserts that news needs to be paid for by other third-party market actors and consumers, but he completely ignored whether, and how, copyright law and its enforcement plays a role.
The other lawyer on the panel, Srinandan Kasi of the Associated Press, identified three factors underlying the “uniquely severe” impacts on established news organizations by the online re-distribution of copyrighted content without compensation or permission: (1) news is the product, (2) news has a limited shelf-life for an economic return on the investment in its production, and (3) the commercial value of individual works of news is is only realized within the context of aggregations of many works of news. He reiterated the AP’s stance that newspapers bear the primary responsibility for protecting the economic value of their copyrighted content, but he stopped short of saying that such responsibility includes aggressively policing copyrighted content through cease-and-desist letters and lawsuits.
Copyright Fair Use – Who Should Decide?
In general, with respect to copyright, the panelists seemed to implicitly direct their comments at the courts, as if only the courts can decide what constitutes ‘fair use.” They did not address whether legislative action could better address the issue and provide greater clarity or certainty in the marketplace. As such, the general tenor reflected a preference to allow judges to decide, on a case-by-case basis, the scope of the ‘fair use’ doctrine with respect to the digital publishing, redistribution, and commercial benefit by third-parties. A judicially-focused approach offers an advantage to emergent and non-traditional companies seeking extra time for innovation and marketplace evolutions because the process can be slow, as compared to the potentially faster possibility of Congressional action. It also favors those market actors with deep pockets because litigation is costly. Which entity should decide — the courts, the legislature, or the regulators? The apparent answer from most emergent media advocates is to allow the news aggregators and other re-publishing companies to decide through actual practice and out-of-court marketplace settlements. This model presumes post-facto acceptance by copyright holders. In the word’s of Jeff Jarvis’s book title, “What would Google do?”
Unsurprising — But Well Said — Statements
I also want to highlight a few unsurprising (but well said) statements and a few surprising statements. First, Chris Ahearn of Reuters pointed out that emergent business models for online journalism will be premised on a multi-sourced revenue model. Robert Thomson of The Wall Street Journal observed that “there will be a lot of haggling in the coming months.” Neither of these conclusions should be shocking to anyone, but they reiterate some fundamental truths.
On the surprising side, Lauren Rich Fine recommended a failed strategy from the past, online “brochure-ware” directories of local businesses. She blamed the prior failures by newspapers solely on inadequate training of advertising staff. Extrapolating here to a real-world example, Fine would assert that The Washington Post failed in its CitySearch directory because the sales force wasn’t trained properly to sell “brochure-ware” to small businesses — not that the price point frequently equaled or exceeded the small business’ annual advertising budget, that the users disappointingly found the online directory to contain static (and sometimes incorrect or outdated) information, or that specialized competitors provided more value-add, economies of scale, and access to untapped and nontraditional audiences. There were no coupons for merchants, ability to make real-time reservations, surprise savings available nowhere else, etc. Further, management chose not to provide special offers to existing print-edition advertisers or to target mid-sized or large companies that had larger advertising and marketing budgets. Training, huh?
Danny Sullivan recommended that, if you want to get angry with Google, write editorials about the lack of transparency under AdSense. He criticized how entities displaying the ads do not know how much advertisers pay Google and Google’s profit margin. They only know how much they get. This is largely a public relations issue. As a society, we honor the ability of parties to engage in a private contract. AdSense defines the terms in advance, and two private parties voluntarily enter into the contractual agreement. So, if you want to put pressure on Google to voluntarily share the wealth or to change its contracts, go forth and disseminate the news about the lack of AdSense transparency.
Lastly, I found what John Marshall did not say to be surprising. The moderator asked him what legacy pitfalls news agencies should avoid. He took his time to formulate a response, as if he had not thought about the issue before. Then, his response seemed highly lacking. With a broad brushstroke, he asserted that the structure of an article is different. Perhaps, he did not want to reveal more “trade secrets” (used loosely here and not in the legal sense).
Here are some of my notes from the panel, in the order in which each panelist spoke. Due to time constraints, the panelists progressively had less time to present individual remarks before the moderated discussion began. Part of the reason that I am posting my informal notes is because the FTC neither provides an archived webcast nor a transcript of the event, which I find surprising given that they went through all the effort to pay a private company to provide a live webcast. Further, the FTC permitted, did not require, panelists to provide their introductory remarks in writing for posting on the ftc.gov website. As of this posting, no panelists below provided their remarks in writing to the FTC for posting on the Workshop website.
Co-Founder, Journalism Online, LLC; graduated from Yale Law School (1975); previously a journalist.
- Users will pay for content with ‘distinctive value.’
- Local publishers produce more ‘distinctive value’ content.
- Advertising revenue alone is insufficient.
- Need to modify existing business models, not invent new ones.
- Readers will voluntarily donate to support quality news.
Brill believes that Journalism Online, LLC doesn’t have all the answers but has made great progress enabling nonprofits, online sites, blogs, publishers, and editors to derive some value from their content. He cited the 1,300 affiliates that have signed letters of intent with Journalism Online. “We know that search engines are our friends,” he said. Further, Journalism Online knows that “engaged” users will pay for content if it has “distinctive value.” He asserted that local publishers may have more of that ‘distinctive’ content, possibly becasue they are closer to the community and understand it better than someone farther away.
He called the current business models not very logical. To illustrate, he identified that his students read The New York Times online but not in print. He feels that The New York Times charges for the inferior product, i.e. the print edition, and gives away the premium product, i.e. the online news.
Brill also asserted that, in the history of journalism, no ‘sustainable, large, significant’ news agency has been able to survive solely on advertising. ‘The closest thing may be the large broadcast networks way back when.’
The basic proposition is: ‘Journalism needs to be professional and needs to be paid for.’ For revenue, don’t need to create a new business model, just need to modify the existing. Readers will pay for some of the costs of delivering that content. Vignette from a panel he was on last week where another panelist praised the “sharing” of news. Yet, a news professional won’t have a landlord who wants to “share.” News organizations can segment some of the content or the readers. News agencies can even ask for donations from readers.
Moderator: Please address behavioral advertising and privacy. She also mentioned that the FTC is hosting workshop on behavioral advertising and privacy on December 7. Ken Doctor (Media Analyst, Outsell) previously spoke at 1:15 pm. In that presentation, he cited his survey showing 10% of people willing to pay for news. Public Broadcasting also finds that 10% of the viewers are willing to contribute. Does that sound like what you are expecting?
Brill: The other studies have much higher numbers, but I think Ken Doctor, as in most things, is smarter than those other studies. Some of the initial market we are doing suggests that it might be a little more. Still, our affiliates hit a home run with 10% contribution. Once you get the 10%, then hire editors and others to drive that number up to 12%, up to 14%.
Moderator: There have been a number of estimates of when Journalism Online would begin. Are you ready to give an estimate?
Brill: We are about a week away from shipping the Beta software, which will be tested for about a month. “Trying to be vague” because it is going to be a “big headline event of all time so why should I give it away?” (laughter).
Lauren Rich Fine
Research Director, ContentNext Media. ContentNext Media is owned by NY-based Guardian News and Media Limited and offers global coverage on the economics of digital content. For some inexplicable reason, she waited until after she was introduced to inform the the moderator and the audience that she has not been with ContentNext for more than six months. She did not give any information about her current affiliation. I found this to be unusual because the agenda with her name and affiliation was finalized on November 16, 2009, two weeks prior to the event.
- Cannot provide everything to everyone.
- Always relied on more than just advertising and circulation revenue.
- Never had an economic chance with classifieds because an infinite supply exists.
- Focus locally geographically – news, directories, sponsors, brochure-ware.
- Diversification, such as conferences and syndicatd research.
- Users will pay for mobile access.
- Users will pay for specialized financial and health information.
- News aggregators, such as AOL, sound good but will not provide what users want.
- Advocates for increased sponsor-driven “advertorials” to help create content.
One misconception is that this is an industry that always was supported just by advertising and circulation. Yet, that is not the case. The classifieds, over the past 30 years, allowed the industry to get sloppy and not focus on other revenue methods. It is important to know why the advertising model was working. Whether it was newspaper, television, or radio, they were aggregating audiences of scale and providing that as value. On the circulation side, one of the big problems is that users were never trained to pay for the value. When circulation rates were raised, subscriptions would decrease. The industry now is catching on that they can charge. Journalism has the chance to be successful because loyalists will be willing to pay for access online.
Also, on the cost side, with the run-up of revenue of the past, the industry tried to provide everything to everyone. Now, difficult decisions need to be made. Cannot provide everything by generating solely own original content. Should be playing editor to the aggregation of information, such as what is going on in the local community.
Ultimately, the real challenge is the loss of classifieds. It was a commodity. Newspapers were very good at housing it. But, newspapers never had a chance with the infinite supply that exists. The ad model still works, but we need to broaden the definition to provide value beyond the display ad.
I rearranged the flow of topics in her speech to identify the strategies she recommends and the strategies she feels will fail.
She recommended the following business strategies.
- Go local: news agencies could put a “bear hug” around their local content about their community and represent their local bloggers and become the dominant local ad network. Asserts that the marketplace does not yet have strong local ad networks. She referred to several cities.
- Rearrange from geography to topic-based because that is “where the opportunity lies.” e.g. MedCityNews in Cleveland
- Scale: MSNC, New York Times, and Huffington Post have used scale to reach users. Also, use direct ads and charge a premium.
- Sponsorships: reach out to traditional advertisers. Allow sponsors to create content, which has been shown to be very successful yet historically disfavored. Advertorials and sponsored-content have shown to be successful.
- Directories of local businesses: Newspapers tried it and got out of it but the opportnity is still there. most businesses do not have a website. Newspapers could sell them ‘brochure-ware’ and list them in directories. Success depends on better training of the sales force.
- Direct marketing: use email to market products.
- Memberships: “bear hug” your community.
- Diversify: The Wall Street Journal has done a good job on conferences. Her prior employer unsuccessfully tried to syndicate research; she feels that the revenue model will work when the economy improves.
- Mobile access: this is where media companies will be able to charge. Proud of WSJ for charging readers.
- Print isn’t dead. e.g. Politico
She criticized two strategies:
- Subscriber fees: Fees will be insufficient. Yet, users will pay for some specialized news, e.g. financial, health.
- Demand Media: AOL sounds good and is smart. But the flaw is that it likely won’t support what news providers want to provide: spinach on the front page and Britney Spears on the back page.
Managing Editor, The Wall Street Journal; Editor-in-Chief, Dow Jones & Co.
- Journalists should not be ‘prize hounds.’
- The government should not fund journalists.
- The character of content is changing.
- Vertical is more important than horizontal coverage.
The Wall Street Journal subscription rate is still rising. The character of content has changed. Far too many journalists have failed to respond to the digital age. One cause is failing to understand how fundamentally the life of the reader has changed. Many journalists, fortunately not those at Dow Jones, have become prize hounds and prisoners of status. They should be unruly and feisty. Some journalists think they deserve to be funded by the government but that would produce kept men and women “journalist concubines,” dependent on hand-outs for their existence. Online, there are “content creators” and “reverberators.” The latter is largely an “editorial echo chamber.” The noise is alluring, but there are neither composers nor musicians.
For a period, it was “hip to accept that all content should be free, all the time.” But there was a fundamental flaw in that argument. It benefited those who distributed the content but not those who created the content. As a result, the content landscape had to change. Further, “editorial ennui had to end.”
Our intent was to progress through three phases: (1) prompt and provoke debate on the subject, (2) determine how the value can be realized, and (3) then act on the most intelligent information.
The character of content is changing. There will be a lot of haggling in the coming months. Need to examine how people use the web, the mobile phone, the tablet, etc. and design content accordingly. Further, instead of the horizontal web, because of aggregators, vertical will be more valuable. The Internet age cannot be just the triumph of amateur hour. You don’t need a sophisticated algorithm to see that the clear deficit between the current costs and the value — social, commercial — of content.
“Thankfully, the era of content [omit. Not sure what he said but guessing "canned"] is over.”
President, Reuters Media, Thomson Reuters
- Reuters focuses on services, not content.
- Multi-sourced revenue models.
- This is the “golden age” of journalism.
Journalism is not synonymous with newspapers. I think we’re focusing too much on newspapers here. Agrees with Murdoch that the bold will survive and timid will fail. The current aggregators are not the enemy of journalism, nor are they the salvation. Some do steal outright and completely copy and monetize with Google AdSense. Yet, they are also constructive and competitive contributors of the ecosystem.
Ahearn identified that he speaks as both a supplier of content to those in the room and, through online Reuters.com, a competitor. Reuters grapples withe the focus on content scarcity versus abundance; content uniqueness versus utility. To maximize value, Reuters focuses on content uniqueness and value, as well as subscriptions. Reuters receives 90% of its revenue from subscriptions. In contrast to the many comments of the workshop that are focused on content, Reuters focuses on services, not content. Predicated on publishers and their audiences, not on just what Reuters wants to produce.
The model is inherently a multi-sourced revenue model, i.e. bulk purchase, link back, ad sharing, etc. It’s a B2B network that the world needs. It is based on open-source metadata. This is not about locking people out. It is not about locking search engines out. We believe creators need to be able to make money.
Publishers should focus on what they do uniquely. Publishers need to “right-size” and outsource what other market actors do better.
We see this as the ‘golden age’ of journalism and “much, much more.”
Founder and Editor, Talking Points Memo
- Hybrid approach of original content production and aggregation.
- No news agency serves as the sole source of information.
- Traditional news agencies operate differently than online news companies.
Asked to talk about aggregation. Truth is Talking Points Memo is not really about aggregation. TPM sweet-spot is a hybrid approach of original content production and aggregation. It seems “more natural” to online news. Vignette about attorney firings in 2007. TPM created original content but narrated the story by surrounding it with references to news content from others. Traditional media companies work within the fiction that they are the sole source of information.
In determining what constitutes fair use of others content, TPM follows the rules provided by General Counsel and the rules of common sense. The standard: “Are we excerpting so much that the reader wouldn’t need to read the entire thing?” He jokingly said that this beats the 39-prong legal standard provided by the lawyers.
That ended his short speech. The following reflects some statements made during the moderated discussion among panelists.
He analogized the evolution of online journalism to trains and planes. He asserted that it would have been logical to imagine that train companies would have pioneered air travel (i.e. Train companies transported people on land, why not on air.). But, he argues, one type of technology infuses a company and prevents it from enjoying the benefits of innovation. Here, legacy news agencies, established pre-Internet, operate differently, i.e. workflow, editor-reporter relationship, etc. TPM lacks that legacy. Even most journalism schools still focus on a production cycle by which there is a once daily print edition.
When asked what legacy-pitfalls news agencies should avoid, he took time to formulate an answer. He asserted that the Internet changes the journalistic work process. As an example, he briefly mentioned that the structure of an article is different online than in print. Specifically, the role of the lead is different. He did not mention how. He seemed to imply that the entire structure of how one writes an online article is different, but he provided no support for this assertion.
Vice President and General Counsel, Associated Press; J.D. Columbia University
- Re-publishers of news headlines need to compensate news publishers
- Aggregators and advertising networks that facilitate third-party monetization of content should share in costs of production.
- News companies need to find ways to monetize news assets when it still has value.
Chose to skip several comments covered by speakers already.
Impact of the web on the news industry has been uniquely severe. First, the product is news. If you describe details of news story, you have told the news story. Ken Doctor previously told the FTC that 50% of users do not click through from an aggregator to read the entire story. Second, most news content has a limited shelf life. The commercial value is only realized within the window when the news has immediate relevancy. Third, the commercial value of individual works of news is is only realized within the context of aggregations of many works of news. If you understand these three truths, you can understand the digital challenge faced by news organizations. Once the news publisher invests to put news content online, all or parts are republished on the web ad infinitum at virtually no cost. A consumer who browses such republished content derives much of the original news and information, conveying the economic value of the content to the re-publisher, the engines that bring the user to the content, and the advertising networks that facilitate the monetization of that content off-site. The news gather and original publisher of the works are left with the costs of creating those works but only a fast, shrinking opportunity to realize the commercial value from their own publication.
For the sake of society and all we hold dear, we cannot allow that to happen.
Preventing it largely is primarily the responsibility of the news publishers, who must find new ways to connect with their audiences. The AP is committed to helping them do this. AP originally formed as a cooperative of news creators and has adapted to be a source of news for TV, cable, Internet, and mobile devices. Its history is replete with moments of discussion on how new publishing platforms will exist with new ones. Along the way, we’ve come to appreciate what economies refer to as “economies of scale” and “economies of scope.”
The three steps of the path forward: (1) news companies need to find new ways to monetize the news assets on their websites and elsewhere to maximize news when it still has value, (2) while consumer choice may be at the disaggregated story level, the story and publisher need to part of a larger aggregated context and audience to attract a grow digital revenue, and (3) the creator and publisher must be compensated for reuse by others who benefit. Those who want the benefit, all third parties, must share in the costs.
AP has developed a strategy to pursue these steps for the mutual benefit of content creators and publishers, which should allow third-parties of all types to exploit and benefit from this cooperative activity, while allowing the cooperative and its members to support professional journalism.
Director, Rightscom Ltd.; Project Director, Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP)
- Copyright enables media business models.
- Democratization of news and online distribution provides unprecedented opportunities for new market entrants.
- Need to recognize copyright.
- Technology can help protect copyright online.
Introduced by the moderator as representing the technology aspect. Bide, however, said that he intended to discuss copyright as the enabler of media business models. Copyright provides the incentive to create and then to distribute. Making a return on investment depends on being able to determine how that content is distributed, used, and paid for. It is why copyright was invented and why it remains good for today. No one would deny that the Internet has catalyzed the need for fundamental change in the media. The democratization and the distribution provides unprecedented opportunities for new entrants. But, high-quality in-depth news is expensive to make. Without high-quality news, the Internet will be a drab place. People who write the news expect to be paid.
We may indeed have news content paid for by the government, as in the United Kingdom, or by the wealthy. The Internet has highlighted the importance of copyright. We have ignored copyright as an inconvenience. Need to make it work with the grain of technology and not against it. We need to harness the potential at the machine-machine level, not at the human level.
ACAP focuses on creating a universal open-standard mechanism for use in the online media industry.
Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land; former journalist
- Free goes both ways, part 1: News industry would be different if sources were paid.
- Free goes both ways, part 2: Every news reporter uses Google for research.
- Aggregated headlines are fair use, not theft.
- Want to criticize Google? Google AdSense should be more transparent about its incoming revenue.
Vignette about his prior position as stringer for The Los Angeles Times and as a regular reporter at the Orange County Register. Started freelancing on search engines for magazines.
Although he was a journalist, he also criticized the news industry for not giving attribution when they take a story he broke without attribution. Even if they do cite him, they generally do not link to him. He spends 2-3 days per month giving interviews to the press because he loves the industry. He also said it probably does give him some traffic. But news agencies do not pay him for being a source. News industry would be different if you paid sources. Free works in a lot of ways.
Another example of how free works in a lot of ways. When we hear complaints that aggregators are getting unilateral benefit, every news reporter I have ever talked to uses Google to research stories. There also are other sites out there that are providing information to news reporters that do not get paid. They are struggling along with ads and everything else and they don’t get paid for it.
He has concerns with fair use. He doesn’t like it when someone else steals his content wholesale. He takes care to summarize others’ content. He doesn’t believe headlines are “theft.” He analogized to TV listings, which allow users to determine the time, station, and show they want to watch and also provide brief descriptions. He argues that no media company argues that they should be removed from the TV listings. Implicitly, he is suggesting that media companies shouldn’t be arguing that they should be removed from online news aggregators of headlines.
Note: Because he was one of the latter panelists, he had very limited time. Later in the moderated discussion, he added the following about advertising.
AdSense revolutionized advertising but you don’t have any idea how much you are making. Essentially, it is a black box. They do not tell you how much the advertiser is paying Google and the profit margin.
- FTC should not intervene in the competitive marketplace.
- Value comes from content and the fora in which it is accessed
- The future of journalism is not institutional; it’s entrepreneurial.
He started by saying that if this were Congress, he would have yielded his time to Danny or Robert.
Important to look at the fundamental changes in business realities of the media industry. We are in a new reality today — a linked economy versus a content economy. All you need one copy of something and its the links to it that bring it value. The value is: (1) the content and (2) the fora. We should be gracious that Google does not charge. It is up to the recipient of the links to monetize the links. If you can’t, that isn’t Google’s failure, it’s yours.
In his research study of business models for news in metropolitan areas (funded by Knight Foundation), they looked at: (1) hyper-local bloggers, bringing in $250k ad revenue and they don’t even know what they are doing. Needs a better product-mix. Need to create a network geographically or by topic. (2) the concept of “news organization” still exists, (3) the framework that allows these networks to form, including volunteerism. Wikipedia $100s of millions of free time per year. As an example, his report concluded that a metro area needs 277 reporters where there are currently 300 reporters. The news organization “ecosystem” will be smaller. His model did not include government transparency in the model.
Why are we here? I’m not sure. The barrier to entry has never been lower. We’ve never had more voices. We do need a level playing field, level lawn. My advice to the FTC, “Stay off the lawn!”
The future of journalism is not institutional; it’s entrepreneurial. That’s one thing Murdoch, Huffington, Brill, and Jarvis agreeing upon.
Note: Being the last panelist to speech, he was encouraged to keep it very short.
Related Articles on Inside Justice
- FTC Workshop on Journalism and the Internet: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age? (purpose/goals)
FTC Workshop Resources
- FTC Workshop on Journalism and the Internet
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Danny Sullivan did a great job with live blogging speakers’ comments.
- Alexander Howard, Is Journalism Going Through Its Own Reformation? Huffington Post, Dec. 1, 2009
- Alexander Howard, FTC Workshop Explores Future of Journalism, Regulation of Aggregation, digiphile.wordpress.com, Dec. 2, 2009
- U.S. Copyright Office
- Resources on Copyright Law and Policy (provided by U.S. Copyright Office)
- Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright (provided by U.S. Copyright Office)
- U.S. Copyright Law (provided by U.S. Copyright Office)
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act (provided by U.S. Copyright Office)
- Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center