The recent shutting down of the Rocky Mountain News makes me wonder about its demise.
As much as I love free content — BeckyLand is papered with it, pardon the pun — I think news organizations blundered when they started giving away info and articles on the internet. They should have charged the same price for an online subscription as they did for a hard copy subscription.
Some people love reading their paper at the kitchen table while some would rather read it on their computer. Different strokes for different folks, but the writer, copyeditor and editor still did the same amount of work on it. Why would you give that away?
Or they should have always charged a small amount for individual articles.
Or they should have done both these things.
We’re seeing the same problem with television and movies. Why should I pay for cable if I can watch The Daily Show online? You’ve seen the ads for Hulu recently, but I wonder how they can possibly make any money. And it puts the television writers in the same sinking boat with the newspaper reporters.
I understand that the Hollywood writers unions have begun to address these fairness issues, but how do you get that genie back in the bottle? Besides, if the news and TV organizations aren’t charging enough for their product, how can they include more money for the writers in their contracts? Take it out of their caviar or Greek vacation accounts? Hmm … don’t think so.
So, I’m wondering, should authors give away anything they write? How much before it’s a negative return? What’s the solution? How do we convince the public to pay for something they’ve been receiving for free? Or is there a new business model to construct? Does iTunes have it figured out, or will they put traditional record companies out of business?