Xark!: The newspaper suicide pact:
"...On the surface, paid content is the reasonable idea that people should have to pay for the professionally produced content they consume. Its core, however, is a post-rational demand that consumers abandon their habits of the past decade in favor of new behaviors intended to restore media companies to the profitability ordained to them by God Almighty.
...Your newspaper overlords believe they can sell you their content if they can just get everybody on the same page and nail the sales pitch this time. They're looking for the magic words, not the underlying logic (the tricky part? Doing all this without breaking federal anti-trust law).
...All sorts of content can be sold online quite profitably... but trying to force people to pay for generic news content because your advertising rates have dropped so low they no longer cover the cost of your operations? Have fun selling that one, boys.
...But here's the terrible argument I mentioned: In contending that the paid-content movement was not so much about revenue per se, Isaacson used this alternate rationalization: Paid content models are necessary “to protect creativity.”
That's a pretty stunning statement, even in the favorable context of trying to save an industry in which people are compensated by middlemen for their published work. And so when I got my turn at the mic, I rose and asked him: What profit margins will these paid-content models have to generate in order to protect creativity?
Isaacson never responded to that question, unless you call staring at me with a horrified expression a response... He did eventually concede that stockholders might have certain profit expectations.
Yes. Expectations like 20 and 30 percent profits.
So can we finally, finally call this thing what it is? Quality journalism is expensive, and to the extent that it provides a public good, we will find ways to fund it. But top-heavy, poorly run, arrogant-to-the-bitter-end media companies? This is their crisis, not our crisis, and it certainly isn't about journalism.
...The chances of them adapting well to another failure are dubious. Remember, these are the same people who have acted as if there were no other options, even when those options were practically gift-wrapped for them. As if Newspaper Next never happened. As if commerce hubs and C3 and all the interesting, exciting ideas that are practically everywhere today do not exist.
They don't get it. They don't want to get it. And in many cases, they're literally paid not to get it..."