Print 11 comment(s) - last by Danger D.. on Jul 14 at 4:52 PM

Big media searches for ways to use cable TV revenue model online

Big media companies are struggling to keep profits up as more and more consumers move to free methods of getting their news and information online. The internet and its nearly instant access to news at no cost to the reader have significantly affected most print publications.

Reuters reports that the big topic at the Sun Valley conference this week isn't about the economy, but is how big media companies will move to new business models that work better in the Internet age and offer viewers and readers what they want while still driving revenue.

The mood at the conference is described as "somber" and "very bearish" reports Reuters. Many executives are uncertain about how they will turn profits from distributing news and entertainment online and across other mediums like smartphones.

Much discussion at the event was on paid versus free content online. The internet-using public prefers free content that is ad supported for the most part. The broadcasters and print publications want to move to a revenue model that uses both paid content and advertising.

The challenge for the big media companies is in coming up with a business model that will allow it to keep the ad and subscription revenue model that cable TV uses and apply it to online endeavors where consumers are used to getting content for free.

Discovery Communications' David Zaslav told Reuters, "We're not using long-form content on the Web because it's not clear to us that's the way people want to consume content. But also the business model isn't there yet, so we're taking it slow."

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was at the conference and told reporters that he has been in early talks with Time Warner about getting paid cable shows on YouTube. Popular video provider has also been in talking about instituting a new paid content model and Hulu is also looking to extend its video service to smartphones with an iPhone app.

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Welcome to the 21st century
By djc208 on 7/14/2009 7:26:53 AM , Rating: 5
This is about 10 years too late. If these groups would have spent half the money developing these new distribution models as they did fighting them they wouldn't have to be sitting in a meeting whining about their profits.

I don't know why this needs to be a huge decision anyway. With the right setup you can do both, that's the beauty of these new content methods. If you're willing to pay a subscription fee, or purchase via iTunes, Amazon, etc. then you get commercial free content. Want it for free then you'll sit through some commercials. Same content, multiple sources/options.

Unfortunately I'm sure they'll probably be stupid enough to charge for the content and still make you watch commercials, then complain how no one will pay for their stuff.

RE: Welcome to the 21st century
By chmilz on 7/14/2009 11:03:31 AM , Rating: 2
I will never pay a subscription fee for one site. Ever. I'll find similar content for free somewhere else. If media companies were smart they'd remove executive bloat and implement efficiencies to turn a profit now that information is becoming a commodity market.

Heck, a free site has to be pretty darn good for me to even read it. Free doesn't even cut it.

RE: Welcome to the 21st century
By djc208 on 7/14/2009 12:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
I could see it. The cable companies balked at ala-cart cable channels but the media companies could make it happen without congress.

If CBS started offering all their content available commercial free online for $5/month, and the other companies followed why would I need cable? I don't watch all my 102 channels, I've even de-programmed some of them. So instead of a big cable package to get the 5 or 10 stations I want I just subscribe to their services. Or I subscribe to the few I watch most and use the free ad supported versions for others.

RE: Welcome to the 21st century
By FITCamaro on 7/14/2009 2:01:52 PM , Rating: 2
Ah but you forget. Bandwidth caps. Instead you'll spend the equivalent of your cable bill in overage charges. Assuming you use cable internet.

RE: Welcome to the 21st century
By bkslopper on 7/14/2009 12:28:46 PM , Rating: 2
I've always said the same. Yet for some stupid reason, I've paid for Xbox Live and WoW. I'm so ashamed of myself. =P

RE: Welcome to the 21st century
By FITCamaro on 7/14/2009 2:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
The value of Xbox Live grows each year. $45 a year is nothing.

not going to happen.
By TSS on 7/14/2009 7:09:57 AM , Rating: 4
their revenues will fall regardless of what model they come up with. remember where talking about companies that thrive on exclusivity of information. the internet is like, the arch-nemesis of that.

and because they've been "taking it slow", the consumer's now mostly used to free information. i've personally not picked up a newspaper in quite a while. the last one i think was a free edition newspaper outside of a train station while i had to get on the train for 30 minutes.

the only way i can see these companies still making money is if they can produce trustworthy news. in short, i'd pay for the truth. but i don't trust any of the big ol' companies enough to conclude they "must be speaking the truth". in part because the internet has shown their not always speaking the truth.

it might just be time for these companies to go under and new ones will arise to take their place. lets just hope that they don't drag too much down with them when they go (bailouts, laws, etc).

RE: not going to happen.
By Rinadien on 7/14/2009 9:28:53 AM , Rating: 3
At this point you'll get more accurate / unbiased news from The Onion....

By crystal clear on 7/14/2009 10:15:43 AM , Rating: 2
The internet-using public prefers free content that is ad supported for the most part. The broadcasters and print publications want to move to a revenue model that uses both paid content and advertising.

The revenue model should be free content thats paid for by competing browsers & search engines.

The big media companies should exploit the browser wars between Chrome & I.E. 7,8 & others to provide free content & get ad support plus get paid/sponsored by Google or Microsoft as the case maybe for providing free content.

The same applies to search engines.

Sell it this way-

"You can get the ---- for free by using ----- browser".

"Use the bing to get the (say)....bang"

All this on condition that the sponsors do not interfere with the editorial policy & news contents.

By bkslopper on 7/14/2009 12:31:33 PM , Rating: 2's called, "Roll Over and Die". Speaking to you specificly, RIAA.

The new media
By Danger D on 7/14/2009 4:52:42 PM , Rating: 2
“Unbiased” journalism is, in truth, a relatively new phenomenon, and its days are severely numbered. Remember, in the old days it was always the Plainsville Democrat, the Conservative Daily Leader or some other such publication that mirrored the opinions of the owner.

Blogs and opinionated sites are re-creating that model for the digital age even as “unbiased” news is dying. Opinionated news analysis will continue to grow.

That said, even bloggers need to get their news from somewhere.

I do think a subscription model will work, but not until the traditional media completely implodes. For a time, the general public will be left with no one whose daily job is sitting through city council or public works meetings. Corruption, corporate manipulation and a complete lack of public oversight during that time will create a market. In response, people will again pay for coverage, albeit online, because someone has to do it.

The news organizations that emerge will be smaller, and once again we may see local ownership instead of media conglomerates.

That’s what I think.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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