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The Future of Newspapers and Libraries

If you’re interested in what’s happening in newspaperland, you’ll do well to check out and read the following links. The first article is a wealth of links and does well at showing the period we’re entering is going to be a pretty interesting one in that Chinese curse kind of way.
The newspaper suicide pact
News companies are embarking on a strategy to:
“Establish that news content online has value by charging for it.”
“Maintain the value of professionally produced and edited content by “aggressively enforcing copyright, fair use and the right to profit from original work.””
“Negotiate a higher price for content produced by the news industry that is aggregated and redistributed by others.”
“Invest in technologies, platforms and systems that provide content-based e-commerce, data-sharing and other revenue generating solutions.”
“Refocus on consumers and users. Shift revenue strategies from those focused on advertisers.
“Focus on “core loyalists,” lose “fly-by users.””
“Paid content wall would protect print subscriptions.”
“Pressure Google.”
“Kindle offers limited revenue potential, duplicates print audience.”
Bullshit about newspapers’ future, dissected by Cory Doctorow
Newspaper execs treading carefully on antitrust laws
How Steve Brill pitched newspaper executives on charging for online content — and why they’re buying it
Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable by Clay Shirkey
Seven reasons charging for content won’t work by Steve Buttry
The paid-online-subscription pipedream
Of course, so many libraries have gotten quite addicted to providing news content through free websites many often aren’t aware of the percentage of content that is not on the website, the poor control, the bad searching of many sites at once, etc. I hope that libraries have thought through a few hybrid strategies as the coming version where more and more news content goes behind the paywall and your users will get less and less. It’s time to promote the value of those news aggregators and your federated search offerrings like ProQuest, Serials Solutions, NewsBank, EBSCO, etc.
It’s going to be a difficult two years for news intermediaries as the news companies, creators and reporters strive to find a new business model to compete with the huge drop in advertising driven by innovative disruptors like market makers such as Zillow, Craig’s List and eBay.
As Cory notes: “Newspapers that are turning to paywall plans today are gambling on a risky revenue stream that even the experts aren’t predicting will provide a replacement to their lost advertising revenues (their biggest financial problem is the rapid decline in advertising rates, not the slow decline in print circulation).”
If news is sick, then libraries that offer current events as a product or service better get their shots. It will be a long recovery since free doesn’t last forever. If you develop a good strategy for news in your library, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the coming changes in books, periodicals, music and video.

Posted on: June 7, 2009, 9:46 am Category: Uncategorized