Paying for the future

I found this blog on where news output is going – snappily called ‘the future of news’ no less. I added it to our blogroll. Two posts caught my eye – ‘will local TV news survive web tv convergence?’ and also ‘googlecreep – from news aggregator to news channel?’

The blog is focussed on the US media but with a decrease of sales in newspapers here in the UK, the idea that local TV news is more profitable and therefore the future is an interesting one. Although the recent decline of itv local news would seem to contradict this, does it not give space for a new form of local online tv news to emerge? Only if the advertising revenue can justify it.

“Metro papers are beginning to fail, and their online publications have not generated ad rates that can support large newsrooms, much less the video capabilities of TV stations. At this point, it looks like local news is going video.”

As more ways of accessing the news become available, issues over where the funding comes from become increasingly tangled – just look at the license fee in this country. When I paid my tv license for the year, I noticed that using the internet is now taxed under the license fee. This makes sense in some respects due to free television content on the BBC iplayer and so on but how long before traditional televison switches to a completely user-generated platform? Will use of the BBC website alone justify the license fee? Well, no, because viewers are likely to watch an ever-increasing range of content from across the world and not stick solely to one beloved source. When this time comes, the BBC might use some sort of paid subscription model for access to all of its content. Whether this works or not is something else so what about other news outlets? Online advertising revenue is still too fragmented to support busy newsrooms.

On to the post about Google.

In an effort to increase their own profits, Google appear to be attempting to centralise all news output. At the moment GoogleNews is still just a portal into other news sites but as The Future of News attests, screening live coverage of events like the Republican convention is direct competition to TV channels. Why bother visiting different sites and agencies when you could just use Google? A completely centralised, globalised, profitable news source. Uh oh.

As a footnote, there is also this.

Archives of 244 years of newspapers available, for free, on Google. News and history convene to simultaneously become more accessible and more profitable.

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