We all consume media on a daily basis. We love the stuff but we are paying less and less for it as our parents die and we all get our content online. And as we all know, news online is almost all FREE. Free isn’t a business model that really works for media. Good journalism is expensive and tough to support through online advertising. Rupert Murdoch has responded aggressively to this by putting a charge on many sites such as WSJ.com. This hasn’t worked too well in part because you can still get to the content through a Google search for free. He’s threatening to change all that though for the simple reason that they are struggling to make the economics work even with an online subscription model in place.
I have a suggestion for Mr Murdoch and other media moguls. In the same way that we pay a cable fee in this country and even a TV license in the UK, why not charge a monthly media fee that would enable you to access all the media without having multiple subscriptions. You’d need an aggregator such as Apple’s iTunes to get in to the mix but I’m pretty convinced that in the same way as people will pay $10 a month for satellite radio, they’d pay $10 a month to access the top 100 publications in the US. Now there’d be a challenge figuring out which magazine or newspaper got what out of that $10 each month but I’m pretty sure it could be worked out. It would also enable one player to take over the challenge of managing the online advertising for a host of publications, instead of having a fragmented model as they do today. It would also mean as a user that you would only need one login. I’d almost pay $10 a month just for that as I keep forgetting what username and password I have for various online titles.