News as a Commodity

    December 21, 2007

In my last post about how contextual advertising targets the weak and poor, I promoted the idea of niche publishers shifting to sell niche products and services directly as a better means of monetization.

Dan Root asked why many of the leading news sites are dropping their pay walls. The answer is that future relevancy is driven by the point to economy, and news is a commodity.

The business models for news companies rely upon regional based monopolies that are quickly eroding.

Domain names and community activity largely supplement or replace the need for much of the generalist news or syndication based business model. I used to live in State College and talked to the guy who owned The local paper was doing worse and worse every year, and with a small aggressive staff, better technology, more interactive ads, and a great domain name beat them.

And the news that is worth money spreads fast OUTSIDE OF the pay wall. Does WSJ want the pageviews for breaking a news story, or do they want to see the TechCrunch post about the WSJ story get those pageviews?

If you do not think news is a commodity take a look at this image. It says it all, IMHO.