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Dept. of mythbusting: Money can indeed be exchanged for goods and services

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Is an iTunes for news possible? The cool kids all say no.

They’re wrong.

A year ago — three months ago! — I would have been the last person to make a case for paid content. But I’ve been coming around, and not for the reasons you think.

It’s not because I think newspapers can ever turn back the clock or put the news genie back in the bottle. They can’t. From now on, most content will always cost $0.00.

But not all content will be free, because money is not the only cost consumers must pay to read content. Gathering information — even free information — requires time, effort and knowledge: time to find it, effort to determine whether content is reliable, and knowledge of what content does or doesn’t exist.

If a product can save its readers enough time, effort or knowledge, they’ll pay money for it.

This isn’t to say that newspaper Web sites in their current form can save people enough time, effort or knowledge to be worth money.

My point is: the problem here isn’t the price.

It’s the product.

(photo courtesy Flickr user Roby72)

King Content needs a diet

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Here’s a simple principle for general-interest-ish publications an age of abundance:

Most readers don’t want more. They want less. Though they want more of it to be relevant.

Quicker is better.

Simple as that.

And as Eric Schmidt noted the other day: when speed is the goal, print still works faster than pixels.

Newspapers aren’t very fast.

But print is, or can be.

That’s why print is still king among newspaper readers.

It’s something to consider.

(photo courtesy Flickr user mharrsch)