Friday, September 25, 2009

Singleton: Free online content has no value

Dean Singleton, head of MediaNews Group which owns the Mercury News and several other Bay Area dailies, told the National Conference of Editorial Writers on Thursday that his papers will start charging for news online beginning next year.

"We can't continue to give everything away for free," Singleton told the group, which is meeting in Salt Lake City. "When you give it away for free, it has no value. When you begin charging for it, it has some value."

"I think most companies will begin to take their most valuable content — think sports, think hyper-local news, perhaps entertainment, and put some of that content behind a pay wall," Singleton said, according to a report by KSL-TV.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

have they finally learned their lesson? now, the next thing to do is to stop google and other sites from taking our hard work and just putting it out there without paying.
Wonder how google owners would feel about taking some of their stuff and ripping it off? they'd probably be pissed.

Anonymous said...

Amazing. It took him only 15 years to figure that out.

Fred Dodsworth said...

Sports will go behind a pay wall long before 'local' news or entertainment. The majors forfeited their ownership of local entertainment news decades ago, that's OWNED by the alternative free media and frankly the demographic for the 'Classics': ballet, opera, symphonic music, Broadway theater, etc is so small as to defy the economics. And I look forward to Dean putting 'local news' behind a pay wall, he'll create a marketing vehicle that will push him right into competition with his own ex-reporters! Nothing like creating a market to open it up to competition. Go, Dean, Go! Now if only he'd loosen his deathgrip on AP.

Anonymous said...

The last thing I would do is reward Singleton for sucking the blood out of journalism by paying for any of his online content. If he doesn't care enough to pump money into his papers, why should I?

Anonymous said...

The incredibly stupid idea was offering news sent to your phone for free....so not only was content for free -- you actuallysent it to people for free.

Anonymous said...

"the next thing to do is to stop google and other sites from taking our hard work and just putting it out there without paying."

Google doesn't take any work. It only links to it. If you think your newspaper is better off with LESS traffic, then block Google from linking to your content. It's easy to do and you can do it today. I think what you'll find, however, is that the only thing it will result in is FEWER people reading your content. That's not something your advertisers will be too happy about.

Anonymous said...

just when you think singleton couldn't do anything more to destroy his papers, he comes up with something like this! doesn't he have any partners or investors who can talk some sense into him?

Anonymous said...

so google brings more traffic to the newspapers. and how has that worked out for newspapers? it hasn't paid off in advertising dollars, has it? if it had, would newspapers be in the dire situation they are now?
that's like going window shopping and never buying anything. Yeah, thanks for stopping in and not buying. come back again.