That’s why Google was able to come in and take over search. Yahoo
and others stopped investing. Heck, Yahoo sold a perpetual license to
Pay-Per-Click for not much more than $28 million. That’s how
desperate they were. Think if they had sold a license to Google on an annual basis. The entire Internet landscape would be completely different. Yahoo refused to spend money to keep broadcast.com alive even though it
was breaking even. Their stock price was freaking them out. There
would be no YouTube had they continued to support broadcast.com.

Yahoo
was not unique. The list is long of Internet companies that did the
wrong things.
Point being that the challenge of staying the course and innovating
are not unique to old media. Far more net companies failed to innovate
and died than old media companies. In fact, old media companies
probably have a far higher survival rate through the transition of the
last four years than medium- to large-sized Internet companies did after
the bubble.

But hasn’t the horse already left the barn on free Internet news? Can it somehow be herded back in?
Nothing is ever written in stone in the digital universe.

I love that insight—that nothing is unchangeable in the digital universe. It’s an idea that could cost you a bunch of money. It encourages risk, informed risk, but risk nonetheless, doesn’t it?
Selective risk-taking.

Why have you sponsored journalism operations like Dan Rather on HDNet and the investigative start-ups bailoutsleuth.com and sharesleuth.com? Are these selective risks? Or are they more properly seen as experiments with costs low enough that failure would not be a financial disaster? How do you measure their success?
The websites are because I have a strong distrust for the one percent of government employees who put their careers ahead of doing the right thing. These efforts were a response to that. If we catch one government crook or provide the information that allows someone else to do so, it will have been worth it. I consider it a small price to pay for doing a civic duty. I consider it a patriotic effort.

If sharesleuth continues to discover less-than-savory activity in the business world, it’s worth it.

Dan Rather Reports is part of HDNet, which has been successful. We don’t disclose any numbers for any of the ventures. They are no one’s business but ours.

Did you see this post on Bradford Cross’s Measuring Measures blog: “Why the iPad is Destroying the Future of Journalism”? The guy argues that subscription models are doomed.
He didn’t really say anything other than he doesn’t like subscription models and media should make their content available everywhere and sell more ads. Nothing new or interesting there.

First of all, the Internet is not the only place news is consumed. He doesn’t even reference the revenue aspects of physical media and location-based media. He doesn’t reference the connection media has with subscribers (under-monetized, but it’s there).

He also doesn’t discuss whether the traffic from search engines and even Facebook offers any monetary value. Just another Internet guy saying traffic must equal profits, so create more traffic. Doesn’t work that way.

The biggest thing he missed is the fact that there is just as good a chance that the ad revenue generated by Google/Facebook referrals can go away as quickly and completely as the ad dollars newspapers had generated via classifieds. The “incumbent” source of revenues is just as vulnerable today as it was in previous years.

The only thing he got right was the fact that silos are not the best way to sell content.

 

Terry McDermott spent thirty years at eight newspapers, most recently at the Los Angeles Times, where he reported from more than twenty countries. He is the author of the upcoming The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.