just had a great conversation with the online editor of goldcoast.com.au, one Peter Willcox, who just happens to be my boss.
we were yarning on about the general state of play in the newspaper industry. bunches of uncertainty, as you can imagine, given that we’re just coming to end of a round of redundancies in our workplace. hopefully the only round of redundancies.
we started tossing around ideas for business models that will actually pay our salaries in the future.
pete’s theory is a neat one.
media organisations like news limited (our masters) need to become multi-faceted (god knows, that’s what they ask of their employees). obviously, they know this, or there wouldn’t be moves afoot to produce digital editions via ‘foldable’ screens that will come with your subscription fee and through which you can download your daily newspaper.
but pete’s thought was a little more wide-ranging even than that.
everyone agrees that the thought of paying for online content on newspaper websites is a big FAIL. nobody wants to do it, and not even i will do it – i’d rather go find my news somewhere else.
but what if, instead of paying my ISP a monthly fee for email and web access, and paying telstra or optus or whoever a monthly fee for my mobile phone and landline, and paying austar or foxtel a monthly fee for cable tv, and paying my newspaper a subscription fee … what if, instead of those things, i pay news limited one monthly fee to provide all those things?
the problem then, of course, becomes one of diversity. i don’t just want news limited’s (or whoever’s) take on the news. and if i look down my list of favourite news and information websites, that’s an awful lot of ‘providers’.
but somewhere in all this there has to be a solution.
perhaps if i subscribe to news limited’s monolith of services, and pay a small additional fee, i also get access to a range of services from fairfax, or scripps, or apn (??!!??) or whoever.
and of course my web access still allows me to get to the myriad of free news sites and blogs.
just a thought … and one p. willcox is the planet-sized brain to come up with it.