Deal With It: News is a Commodity, a Worthless One


DepthsHell

The Guardian posted a recent story called “Can Twitter Make Money Off of Breaking News or is it a PR Platform?”

I nearly choked on my coffee.

The article notes:

“Twitter’s behaviour over the last few months suggests it doesn’t think it can.”

Well of course Twitter doesn’t think it can make money off of breaking news. Why would it think it could? Because even the news business can’t make money off of breaking news.

Nobody can.

Newspapers revenues are at their lowest since 1950. The problem is a simple one: print ads were expensive and digital advertising is cheap. You can’t replace expensive with cheap and expect to say in business.

According to Slate:

“The dramatic decline in newspaper ad revenues since 2000 has to be one of the most significant and profound Schumpeterian gales of creative destruction in the last decade, maybe in a generation.”

The other problem is subscriptions. No one is willing to pay for those, especially young people who have an effective life hack to avoid subscription fees: the Internet.

I don’t need to buy a newspaper or pay to get behind your paywall to get the news. All I have to do is Google it.

Or go to Facebook or Twitter.

All the breaking news I want is located in those places for free. Because guess what? Even if you’re selling your breaking news, someone else isn’t.

It’s time for journalists to admit to a disturbing fact. One they can’t seem to grasp even though all evidence points to it (kind like Republicans and climate change).

News is now a commodity. A commodity that few people will pay for.

And, yes, this is a huge societal problem. Because news outlets continue to drive the news despite all the savage cutbacks and bleeding bottomlines.

But no one – not even Twitter – can figure out how to profit from a product that few people place a monetary value on anymore.

Links:

Guardian article on if Twitter can make money on breaking news

Slate article on the decline of newspapers

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