As the demand for digital news -- via aggregation -- continues to increase, the supply is decreasing. Maybe we should charge companies that aggregate content to reinvigorate the industry.
After years of reeling from the impact of Internet-based competition on revenues, major news organizations are embarked on a variety of initiatives they hope (or better yet, expect) will finally recoup some of what has been lost. For anyone in the field, there is a growing vocabulary for strategists to master: paywalls, metering, micropayments, and mobile subscriptions, among others. With so much energy and enterprise devoted to reversing the downward spiral, there is a reasonable chance that 2012 could mark the start of a turnaround for some companies.
Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute, who is a particularly astute follower of trends, alerted me to an impressive new venture called NewsRight that is backed financially by the Associated Press and twenty-eight other news organizations, including The New York Times Co., The Washington Post Co., The McClatchy Co., Hearst Newspapers, and Germany's Axel Springer Group. The initial objective is to license content from leading news gatherers that is now being used (pilfered is the operative term) by aggregators who have paying customers or sell advertising on their sites but do not flow any money back to the content originators. The Associated Press began to establish what it called the News Registry in 2009 to track the unauthorized use of its output across the Internet. NewsRight is a substantial expansion of that project, with the ambitious goal of providing high-quality content but collecting fair payment in return.