Can newspapers end the ‘online free lunch’?

By SSPR

Just read an interesting article by Stu Bykofsky of the Philidelphia Daily News.

While the article was well written, I disagree with Stu’s argument that newspapers can’t continue to give away online content for free.  The entire newspaper model- undervaluing content and relying on advertising to make up the difference- is the problem.   For decades, consumers have paid pennies for a daily newspaper, enjoying dozens (if not hundreds) of articles a day.  People have been tricked into thinking that the ‘cost’ for a newspaper is only 50 cents, when its exponentially higher.  Now, times have changed- the rug has been pulled from under the newspapers feet.

Newspaper content is unbeatable- I agree with Stu there.  A skeleton crew of bloggers can’t compete with a newsroom filled with skilled reporters.  Bloggers can’t be everywhere.  Compete with the bloggers by posting all content online for free, and advertise around it.  Convince companies that online ads are the way to go-  (Instead of only having a few inches on Page 6B, have them on the homepage for every visitor to look at.  Selling online ads (backed with statistics, web analytics, and click throughs) is a much more tangible investment than who ‘might’ have looked at it on Page 6B for a few seconds.

Newspapers built their businesses on advertising content.  There’s no reason why that can’t be adapted to the digital age.

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