Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 9, 2009 9:27 PM

Trying To Outgoogle Google

How do you think the traditional media is reacting and growing their business? Are they keeping pace, falling behind or simply stuck with their heads in the sand?

Following is an amazing roundtable discussion titled, A conversation about print journalism in the digital age, from Charlie Rose. It features Thomas Curley (President and Chief Executive Officer of the Associated Press) along with Arianna Huffington (from The Huffington Post). This is a great 18 minute conversation:

By Mitch Joel


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  • Posted by Mark Dyck
    Mitch Joel

    Wow. What a contrast between the two views. I wish I could say I never heard a CEO keep repeating "We just need to get paid" over and over again but Mr. Curley isn't the only one saying that. Telcos, Cablecos, music distributors, and on and on are saying the same thing.

    I would've liked Mr. Curley to try at least once to really articulate the value that he brings in this new world. He edged around it right near the end but it appeared to be almost an afterthought.

    Dumb question: Does the AP actually employ journalists or do they simply pay for freelance work? I wasn't sure if his appeal to getting paid extended to journalists or not.

    I can't see any of the 'new models' he was describing actually working, but they aren't really new anyway.

  • Posted by Stefan Holt
    Mitch Joel

    So what does AP want? Do they want traffic or money? Or both and be compensated handsomely? If I'm understanding Curley correctly, you would have to pay to blog about the content, link to the content, mention AP as the content, etc... etc... or risk legal action. Watch out Mitch...i think you may get hit with a lawsuit just by referencing the links in your post (unless of course you pay for AP and please don't send me to generic landing page.)

    This type of revenue generation would open a Pandora's box of lawsuits. Talk about a Napster moment 100 fold. I would have to agree with Huffington's analysis on this topic. She is embracing the technology and the bumps of how to monetize it as well, but she is having success. So why doesn't AP start changing it's model to embrace instead of trying to blockade? I think her point on using the old traditional revenue models just won't work is valid.

    "Who's going to pay?" Ah, the big question, i think bloggers and podcasters say "How do we monetize?" Forward looking you'd have to look at subscription-based (i.e. cable) and private funding (NPRish) Traditional advertising if you can get it, measure it, and justify ROI (best of luck.)

    However, I don't think you can get away with the backlash if you start charging for free stuff and taking to people to court. imho...Big media and little media are going to grapple with this for some time.

    Disclaimer: You have ever right to use the thoughts and viewpoints expressed in this comment on your blog, of course, until I can sue you retroactive because of all the money you're making..thanks AP, should have thought of this sooner.

    Is this the next step? I sure hope not.


  • Posted by Adam Singer
    Mitch Joel

    Sounds like AP wants to create a form of "DRM news" - that would destroy them. Look at the failure of the music industry. This would easily enable another nimble organization to displace the AP. DRM is failure.

    Restricting content is two steps backwards and shows how the AP would like to cling to a world where they have all the power and authority.

    People can be paid if you develop a model around the web, not the other way around.

  • Posted by Andrew
    Andrew

    When you take a step back it is obvious that this is just another example of a large company freaked out about the internet and new "open-source" ways of doing things and of losing control.

    I'm sick of falling into the trap of feeling sympathetic for these companies (see: GM). They are out to control as much of the market as they can. Their organizations are large, clunky, and relatively incapable of keeping up with a new global market. If they don't find a new way to control the market or do business, they are going to lose all of it, create a huge legal mess, and piss a lot of people off in the process.

    The parallels to DRM and the music industry are obvious. Companies which offer free content are getting bigger every day. GET INNOVATIVE DARN IT!! Google figured out how to let their users do everything on their website for free, and still make billions. Imagine what would happen to Google if it charged-per-search.

    AP cant figure out how to monetize the opportunities the internet offers without locking up their content, and that is purely a result of greedy organizations who aren't willing to take the time and INNOVATION/EVOLVE. Like she said, consumer habits are changing...

  • Mitch Joel

    I am immediately stuck by a few things that make this particular post layered and rich. Namely, Ms. Huffington's comment about embedded players.. talk about illustrating a point!

    In the same breath, I can't fault Mr. Curley's question about who is going to pay. As a CEO he would certainly be concerned about the infrastructure of his company and their ability to pay the news gatherers.

    Your recent post about journalists and bloggers is a fascinating companion to that comment. Journalists are trained professionals, and there is a giant question mark on who is going to compensate their efforts in the field. If the AP can't figure out a business model to adjust, then everyone suffers.

    There is so much more to say about this topic, but the fact that people like Chris Anderson: grappling with the concept of free, and other big brains like Noam Chomsky: who believe deeply in a society with a very different compensation model, show that this important human meta-narrative is not easily ignored or answered.

    There is no doubt that the internet has opened the flood gates, and the keepers have been, in one sense, washed away.. I just wonder what happens when the flow subsides. Who will keep generating that valuable stream of content?

    I guess we'll all have to either stay tuned, or get out there and start generating!

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