Newspapers Don’t Get The Internet

Newspapers Don't Get The Internet

(Source: Flickr)

Yesterday we read an article in The Australian Newspaper entitled “The career advice I wish I had at 25“.

It was an insightful article in which The Australian’s Queensland Editor Shane Rodgers provided thirteen pieces of advice that he wishes he had had back when he was 25 years old.

We were going to link to the article in The Australian, but discovered that although the article can be read when accessed via Facebook it can’t be read if accessed via links on other websites (ironically a version of Shane’s article can be read freely on LinkedIn).

LinkedIn doesn’t charge a subscription fee for its content, but The Australian and many other newspapers do.

This is not only slightly ironic, but clearly demonstrates that newspapers (including mastheads like the New York Times) don’t understand the Internet and are currently in the process of fighting a losing battle online.

If businesses that make their bread and butter by creating and distributing news content are determined to charge for that content while more successful online players like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google are giving content away for free, then it begs an obvious question. How long can we expect traditional news content providers to survive?

As we argued last week, the Internet has fundamentally changed the strategic landscape. We are now living in a connection economy in which content is ubiquitous and cheap (typically free) but connection and attention are valuable and scarce.

By charging a subscription fee for content, The New York Times and The Australian may be ensuring their short term financial survival but they are doing so at a significant long term cost.

Putting a price on content limits subscriber numbers and ensures that these content providers will be unable to participate in the new online business model which revolves are connecting with more readers than ever before, and allowing those readers to connect with each other.

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