Why Newspaper and Music Comparisons are No Longer Relevant

Every argument has its “go to” comparison.  Talk to anyone about what is going to happen with the future of TV,  and inevitably there will be a reference to “look what happened to the newspapers” or “Look what happened to the music industry”

Can we just set aside those arguments for all things media going forward and say that such arugments are INCREDIBLY STUPID  ?

Yes, they are INCREDIBLY STUPID.  In a digital era, it makes absolutely no sense to compare industries that were trying to protect and serve products that were and are PHYSICALLY DISTRIBUTED and by far the biggest source of their revenues vs industries that distribute their products completely digitally or for whom physical products are in the minority.

The music industry made the mistake of trying to destroy digital distribution in order to protect the physical distribution of CDs. Not only did they not have an answer to digitally distribute music in the Napster era, but they STILL DO NOT !.  Fortunately for them, they have finally recognized that for the most part the CD is dead, but where revenue is being generated by their music, they deserve their cut.  Imagine if they had established a digital distribution portal for audio and video, ala Hulu, that could at least attempt to compete with ITunes and Youtube. They would be in far better shape. Instead they are reinventing their business model. The CD was doomed to die, no matter what happened. Trying to protect it was a mistake.

The newspaper industry tried to protect the physical distribution of their papers. That was a mistake. Their problem was not only that they lost their ability to differentiate from content on the net, but they also lost their ability to differentiate their value to advertisers from the net.  There is no inherent advantage to reading the news or advertisements via the paper vs the internet, it has become a personal or business preference.  Unfortunately for the local newspaper industry, it doesn’t appear any of their publishers are creative enough to come up with options to attack digital.

Comparing Cable, Telco and Satellite TV vs Online Video and referencing music or newspapers is a mistake.  The internet, digital cable (which is becoming more ubiquitous, even to the point of Switched Digital), Telco video and of course satellite video are all already digitally distributed.  Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages.  None will be the winner to the complete exclusion of another. They all will complement each other.

The only real outstanding issue is with the big content producers.  The question is what happens with DVD sales ? Is the decline in sales due to the economy, the impact of downloads , the impact of VOD from cable, telco and satellite and internet, or maybe even the impact of people choosing to pay $10 to go to the movies rather than paying $15 to $20 for a DVD ? I’m not sure that we know the answer yet.

As you might guess, I have an opinion on this.  I think people are choosing out of home entertainment.  They are watching more TV and things on TV, and with limited disposable income, they are choosing inexpensive out of home entertainment.   If it costs less than $10 per person and its outside the house, its probably a business that is doing well. From movies to restaurants.

I think there is another issue as well.  There is a critical business distinction between the  digital distribution of movies via download vs the physical distribution of DVDs. When  DVDs  resellers and retailers buy quantities of the physical product, they take the responsibility of selling them. They write a check for the products they sell net of returns for the smaller movies , and with out returns for the biggest movies.  That is real money in the bank within 90 days of shipment. On the digital download side, its purely consignment. No cash, no certainty until after the fact.

Why do you think Netflix gets so much product once it hits their window and Youtube/Google doesn’t ? Because Netflix will offer minimum guarantees of revenue. Youtubue/Google and other online sites pay purely on consignment.  That is the key problem for movie and tv download sites. They have so little confidence in their ability to sell downloads for any given title, they are terrified of having to offer guarantees.

The content companies are happy to offer any and all shows/movies/content that is not generating revenue in physical form to any and all download sites.  But that is what separates them from the music industry. They have the ability to distribute through any and all types of distribution, as well as to offer downloads on their own. Its just a question of managing and optimizing the allocation of product to different distribution outlets rather than trying to completely shut down digital outlets ala the music industry.

43 thoughts on “Why Newspaper and Music Comparisons are No Longer Relevant

  1. I agree that newspapers are slowly dying. Proof of this can be seen through this new website I found called cartoon dialogr. It’s an interactive political cartoon website that lets users create their own captions for political cartoons. Here’s the link http://cartoon.dialogr.com
    In my opinion, if the internet keeps creating websites like this and reporting the news faster and more effectively than newspapers, then it is only a matter of time before the newspaper industry goes under

    Comment by ronnydanger -

  2. Newspapers may not be in the same boat, but arguably social media platforms are. They both are hemorrhaging money like crazy and need

    Comment by BIA2BAMA -

  3. Newspapers may not be in the same boat, but arguably social media platforms are. They both are hemorrhaging money like crazy and need to identify a consistent revenue generating stream

    Comment by Mike Nierengarten -

  4. DVD sales are declining because the marginal utility of another DVD lowers as one’s collection increases.

    Comment by Justin Evilsizor -

  5. Mark, I tend to agree with you about physical vs non, but I think you gloss over two areas.

    the first is local TV. We have local outposts of network television in every reasonable town in America because of the physical limitations of radio waves. Broadcast signals can only go so far. But with the internet (or sat TV), those signals can be nationwide or worldwide. Do we need local TV anymore – at least the one with huge transmitters, towers and monopolies on channel space? I would say no, and I would liken them to newspapers, where there are (or were) real limitations to what you could set, print, press and truck about a physical era.

    The second is simply about scarcity. Cable and satellite, whether digital or analog, are all about scarcity. 20, 100, 1000, it’s all about a finite number of channels – and that limits choices – just as there are a finite number of musicians that a label can promote, and a finite number of households/outlets that a newspaper can reach.

    The internet does away with scarcity, which means that a zillion channels can be available at all times. That enables the development of channels (or sets of content) that can appeal to narrower niches than a cable net. Those cable/sat nets, by nature and finances, must appeal to a lower common denominator (LCD) than a web-only channel.

    I saw it at ZDTV/TechTV. Once we were Neilsen rated, we had to do more LCD programming to juice our ratings. Our core hated it, and in the end we became broad, not deep into a core set of interests.

    The web enables us, with Revision3, to profitably appeal to a more narrow niche than we could with cable.

    Does that mean we’re going to kill cable and sat? I think not. But they will have to co-exist with a wide range of video programming that appeals to a smaller and smaller audience range, but do it profitably. And that will steal time from overall viewing of broad channels.

    jim louderback (CEO revision3)

    Comment by Jim Louderback -

  6. @antii – a la carte is a GREAT thing for consumers as long as they end up paying less and still getting what they want.

    It is, however, very disruptive for traditional media companies. Music labels suddenly found they were spending as much as ever to find, groom, produce, and market songs and bands but were only left with 1/10 as much revenue as they used to get.

    The Pay-TV model works in much the same way in the sense that in the current world I am forced to pay for large bundles of channels even if I only watch a few of them.

    The difference – and this is what I think MC underestimates – is that when i pay for cable or satellite I am also paying for a channel guide and, increasingly, a DVR as well which add a lot of value. Sure, I could theoretically demand a la carte service where I pay only for the channels I want, but then perhaps I’d have to pay even more for the guide and the DVR. The music labels had no such options available to them so in this sense the Pay-TV model is more robust in the face of the forces that would make it a la carte online (at least until there’s an online service that’s as easy to use as the TV in my living room already is).

    Comment by Alan Miles -

    • Great Points Alan. You are exactly right. In addition to the programming, customers are getting technology, hardware, software, integration, multi platform. Im stealing your ideas. thanks !@

      Comment by markcuban -

  7. A la carte music gives us the option to buy the one good song from a crappy album. Why is that not a good thing? If an artist can’t come up with a decent album, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that they disappear.

    Comment by antti -

  8. I don’t think that the newspaper and the music companies are no longer relevant. If you shut down the newspapers, then where do the blogs get their information? Yeah, they get it into our information hungry hands faster than the paper does, but they have to get it from somewhere. Moreover, having a physical paper isn’t always a bad thing. The Chicago Tribune publishes a daily free paper called the RedEye, which is aimed mostly at the commuter crowd. It’s very popular, and rare to find a copy after 9am around here. Once devices like the Kindle become more popular, there’s no reason why a subscription-based digital model couldn’t work. Unfortunately, right now they’re stuck with declining subscriptions in their paper while being squeezed by the blogs. However, the music industry missed the digital boat, and everyone knows it. They still serve a valuable function of signing artists, allowing them to create their music, then promoting that music and allowing those artists to go on tour. Their future is more as content creators rather than as distributors.

    It’s significantly harder to destroy physical media than it is to destroy data. I’m sure most people have some sort of horror story where they’ve watched music and photos and documents be lost due to some kind of hardware failure, and it’s devastating. Now imagine if your whole movie and music collection was trapped on a dead hard drive? It’s a nightmare scenario for a lot of people.

    Comment by monkeybusinessiu -

  9. Can someone clarify this please?

    “They write a check for the products they sell net of returns for the smaller movies , and with out returns for the biggest movies. That is real money in the bank within 90 days of shipment. On the digital download side, its purely consignment. No cash, no certainty until after the fact.”

    I think I follow, but please explain in more detail. I don’t see how consignment is not less risky with the same gains…

    Comment by Zach -

  10. I too see no logical explanation to compare newspaper and music companies. Two totally different types of media. For one news can be watched on television and the web. But with music and movies there are a lot of collectors out there like myself who enjoy owning the actually artifact. I not only collect cd’s and dvd’s, but I even collect movie posters and records. Now granted I am in the minority, but there is still many people who like owning media, and could care less about newspapers and magazines…

    Ralph DeLuca
    Madison, NJ

    Comment by Ralph DeLuca -

  11. Also consider:

    Movies takes longer to download on p2p or torrent network even with a broadband connection.

    You need a boardbrand to even bother with downloading movies, not so with mp3 or news.

    Distributing hd movies via a website is more expensive then delivering an mp3 for content pirates and legitimate distributors alike.

    A lot of people enjoy the experience of watching a movie on the big screen in the theater.

    Renting a movie from netflix, is an affordable, quick and easy way to watch a movie on your large screen tv.

    Comment by David O. -

  12. If the last five years prove anything isn’t it that content is NOT king?

    Content has been overthrown by consumers in a bloodless coup and the new regime hasn’t figured out how to rule yet.

    Comment by Mikey -

  13. Hi Mark,

    I very much agree with your opinion on newspapers. To add to your point, it is general consensus that newspapers are taking a hit due to the internet. Newspaper index’s have in fact taken a huge hit but it has been less a factor of the internet and more a factor of extraordinary losses or poor management decisions. Lets look at some failed papers. The Sun run by Conrad Black and David Radler has fallen under issues and lawsuits due to recently highly publicized events surrounding fraud etc that has brought the paper down. Sam Zell tried to flip the tribune in 2007, a year later it went bankrupt after a slew of bad decisions surrounding the already struggling paper. Smaller papers (Philadelphia Daily, Minnesota Tribune etc) have faced similar issues.

    I think newspapers will stick around too but for some different reasons than you have explained. I think that in the mean time web based newspapers are disorganized. To elaborate, the layout of these pages is inefficient. It is hard to know if you have ever read the full paper. As I click I am constantly worried that I have missed an important piece of news that the physical newspaper readers will not as they can check every page. There are many ways the internet papers can improve there layout and thus threaten newspapers further. Until then however, a bigger issue for papers will be a lack of quality management (and obviously credit and CF) as the belief that print is a dead medium pushes talent to what are believed to be more sustainable medias.

    Great Mavs win this weekend, Kidd is a monster.

    Shout out to ritholtz.com for the facts.

    Comment by SWO -

  14. Content is king. People like you and me create content with ease. With a good disposition and free software on the net, we can create a song, a movie, and a newspaper if we wanted. We all can and many do. The value of content has been driven down. Content was expense to create before the net.

    I believe the three can survive in a new format. One day there will be a device like an iPhone/Kindle portable contraption that will be able to carry books, music, and movies and surf the net at the same time will be created with some kind of advertising scheme so that content can survive as a whole. Imagine a slim light carrying device the size of a magazine were able to carry all that data with touch screen. You could carry a whole library with you and read at ease. It will come within the next 5 years. It is already here in different forms, it will merge and create a whole unified industry.

    Communication has finally been given to the people. It is now ours.

    Comment by tone -

  15. I enjoyed reading this post. You made a really solid argument for why the newspaper vs. music industry comparisons are no longer relevant. I think for the most part you are correct in your assessment however I still think the comparisons are relevant. They are no longer relevant with respect to content or value (I doubt they ever were); but these comparisons are relevant with respect to distribution and revenue generation. Let me use music as an example. The way the music industry distributed its product/content was inefficient, archaic and, notorious. The cost of receiving your favourite songs from your favorite artist far outweighed the actual cost of the entire production of the music and (most importantly) the delivery process. It was tolerable in the past because the consumer had NO CHOICE. Back in the day: If I lived in some backwater village/town in Australia and wanted to listen to music from some artist, paying $20 for a CD might have been worth the cost. Now, in the ever growing media age, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever – I do not care who the artist is, that is a complete ripoff. The Music Industry obviously felt (some still feel) that they have a monopoly on content and want to take away people’s right to choose on the matter. Like, if they stopped distributing music everyone would suddenly freak out and that would be the death of the artist. Obviously that will never happen. If they find a way to monopolize music on the internet, people will find a different way to create and share music.
    As for print media, throughout time, the unique manner of discussions and the value of content has always far outweighed the distribution method for content so like you alluded to, it is a real-time challenge. I seriously doubt this will ever change. It is the reason why 2 people can say the same thing but we still prefer one over the other; we have our preferences.

    On the future of media, it is pointless (and extremely wasteful) to try and restrict people’s choices. That is the lesson here. I hate to quote a line from the Matrix films but…the problem here is choice. All consumers like choice. All consumers want to have a variety to choose from regardless of what is being consumed. For example, I love what the AP does but if every newspaper and publication has exactly the same AP feeds then who cares how you get your news? I would not pay $2.00 for content that cost a minute fraction of a $1. I suppose there’s someone out there that would – I would not. But this is not a fatal thing, it is an opportunity. The Blogs are onto that; hell, everyone is onto that much. The challenge is for everyone to come up with as many choices for the consumer as possible. If you are a media giant, get in everywhere. Everywhere! If some guy in a hut in some remote village/town somewhere in Nigeria can get your content, give that guy choices and he will pay you for the one he can afford. Tell the same guy to mortgage his house just so that he can watch The Bachelor (hell, anything you have to offer being a medium) and your business will probably not survive in the new world.

    One more thing (sorry this went on so long but) you are right about consignment. That is just risky business. I think that applies to so many types of business. Again, the consumer just wants a valueable choice for him/herself. When a media distributor does not even trust/value its own content, consumers will not value it either. If you are the best, you will always have enough variety to satisfy every consumer. Everyone gets want they want and they will be happy to pay something appropriate for it – even independent Blogger types.

    PS: Kita, keep up the good fight. As long as there is life then anything is possible.

    Comment by Smashmauf -

  16. i agree with you Jason… “Newspapers are dying because bloggers are reproducing their news or beating them to the top stories.” You make a valid point…i’d rather read blogs than actually read from newspapers!

    Comment by Chris Dingman -

  17. @Sirdonic, the newspaper industry gets most of its revenues from advertising (80%), not from subscriptions. The problem they are having is that their websites are only about 10% as efficient at generating ad revenue as the paper version is. So every time a subscriber goes “online only,” they are worth only a fraction of what they were. Music isn’t so different since at the end of the day even users who pay for all their music are spending a fraction of what they used to spend because they are not forced to buy stuff they didn;t want (i.e., the extra songs on a CD). Sure, some are buying more singles than they used to but they don’t make up for the users who don’t pay anything.

    Pay-Tv is better placed to survive for some of the reasons MC mentions, but there’s still the problem that people who spend $100/month for TV now might cut back to $60 when they realize they can get fill a DVR with good stuff from a cheaper tier of channels and when they are spending an hour or two a night on Youtube and facebook anyway.

    Comment by Alan Miles -

  18. The question isn’t if the music “industry” or the news “industry” will survive, but rather if the current companies will survive competing against new companies eager to take their place. The current set of music companies are built on the assumption that recording music and distribution are expensive. This, however, is no longer the case.

    Creed’s debut album “My own prison,” released in 1997, cost 6,000 dollars to make. Iron & Wine’s first two albums were recorded in a basement. Bon Iver (Juston Vernon) recorded “For Emma, Forever Ago” with a limited amount of kit in a remote cabin over three months. A small label was sufficient for his distribution needs, a label that understands how to keep costs down in the current music environment.

    The internet isn’t a problem because of piracy; the internet is a problem because it reduces advertising costs. Soulja Boy is a great example of this: while he later signed with Interscope, the price was inflated due to previous success.

    Newspapers have a decreased cost of distribution, but content creation is still as expensive as before. *that*’s a fundamental difference. (What is less expensive, however, is opinion content.)

    There is still room for disruption in the sphere. I could see a group of recent journalism graduates, an editor who doubled as advertising and a web developer decide to exclusively provide local news. Editorializing could be provided by the community, and advertising, as a local entity, would command a premium over national ads.

    A city like Phoenix would be ripe for such a system to compete with the alternative weeklies and large papers.

    The major distinction I see is that television still costs quite a bit to create. While comedies may have competition, who is going to front the money for a large drama net-opera? (Were I to try, however, I’d be looking at soap operas…)

    Comment by Eric Biesterfeld -

  19. Perhaps the music industry is shrinking because it was too big and fat before? Shrinking as in market-correction.

    Technology is providing ways for artists to get exposure without selling their souls to big music labels, and while it is about business and music, if it wasn’t for the music, it wouldn’t be at all. Take away the business, and people will still make music, play and sing it for people, and a business case for it will certainly emerge.

    Comment by Jerry -

  20. Actually the real difference is that while music/movie/cable conglomerates are trying to maintain their old staggered tier release ways of getting paid endless times for the same material, newspapers are struggling to find a way to get paid even one time for their content.

    Take one movie and it goes to a theater–>PPV–>DVD–>one premium pay channel(HBO)–>next (CMAX)–>1st tier subscription channel–>”free” ad supported network TV,etc) Music has a different release cycle but similar repeat payment results. Name any mainstream artist you can’t stand and your money has still been siphoned off in little bits to support them.

    But newspapers’ content hits the internet, Google caches it and that’s it. They don’t have all of those other money making release cycles and recycles that consumers gets charged en masse for, whether or not they’ve paid for “Top Gun” 17 times already in one form or another. That’s what makes them completely different.

    Comment by sirdonic -

  21. I would like to know what a person has to do to get anywhere in life. My husband and I have worked hard all of our lives, and have given to the less fortune, but we just can not win. My husband lost his job of 16+ yrs (yes it was in the automotive industry) and in turn had to take a huge pay cut. In his 16 yrs he never missed a day of work in 7 straight years (which was due to me having to have a total hysterectomy) and prior to that is was 5 years straight. I have taken in a young girl that was pregnant and looking for a place to live, and now have the joy of her and her 3 yr old daughter. My 12 yr old daughter and 3 step daughters 25, 22, and 18. My step daughter recently got married in Feb. and we couldn’t even afford to get them a gift. What we haven’t lost, we are about to.

    We both are honest and hard workers, but we get NO WHERE! Can you please tell me what we are doing wrong?

    Thank you for your time.

    Comment by Kita -

  22. I think the major reason pay-TV has been and will be more robust than music or newspapers is that pay-TV has innovated in three important ways that have made it much more valuable for consumers to keep paying. First, the number of channels grew a lot (even in basic cable). Second, the electronic guide made it far easier to navigate the new content. Third, DVR let us record shows and watch them when we want (and skip ads). Pay-TV has evolved so much that it’s sometimes easy to forget how different it was even a decade ago.

    By contrast while the internet was enabling digital downloads, the music industry kept expecting us to drive to a store and pay $20 for a CD that had only one song we wanted.

    So Pay-TV has already undercut the value that new internet-only options could bring and has therefore made it harder for such new competitors to arise in the first place.

    That said, the cost and difficulty of producing quality video will continue to decline. It may become difficult for traditional TV producers to compete in a world where all kinds of amateurs are giving stuff away for free. While there may always be a market for slick TV shows with high production values, the demand for such fare may be a fraction of what it is today. A lot of your analysis of the TV industry assumes that “professional” content will always command a premium over “amateur” Tv content.

    Comment by Alan Miles -

  23. Tho the music industry is a la carte, and it shrinks their core business, they just need to keep experimenting with business models and learn how to make money using their music to sell other ventures. You can’t sell music anymore, with that goal it’s epic fail- with the availability of music online and the growing number of people pirating music they must forget about actually selling the music itself, since music has become a non-scarce good.

    Comment by James Stevens -

  24. Mark wrote: “they would be better off doing deals with bandwidth distributors (video and ISP) in exchange for pennies per sub per month in exchange for taking their content off the open internet.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

    Major online content providers MUST adopt a cable TV model and start demanding sub fees. By “major” I don’t mean your favorite blogger. I mean the NY Times, facebook, youtube…a total of maybe 50-100 online brands.

    What’s amazing is that a massively successful model for delivering content is sitting right out in plain sight thanks to cable TV, and virtually NOBODY is talking about it as a way forward online.

    The internet will do nothing to traditional media except destroy value and put creative people out of work until this fight is fought. I believe that more strongly every day.

    Comment by Mikey -

  25. “The result is that the music industry shrinks”

    Better to shrink than die

    Comment by thekingofcheap -

  26. @kevin: great point.

    @mark: I’ve been frustrated with analogies for a while! I think with video there should be “windows” of availability.

    Network TV Shows -> Current season on Hulu, etc for free
    Network TV Shows -> Past seasons available to download (rent $x, buy $4x)

    Cable TV Shows -> Current, Previous x Seasons on something like Comcast On Demand Online (free with relevant cable sub)
    Cable TV Shows -> Past seasons available to download (rent $x, buy $4x)

    Movies -> Free for a time period on cable subscription based sites, download (rent,buy) options elsewhere.

    Comment by Alex M. -

  27. As someone who still labors at a newspaper I still agree on this issue, on almost a daily basis we wonder if we will be employed the next day and to compare newspapers to digital media is crazy.

    Comment by Carrie Costas -

  28. You make a really thought-provoking point that the cable/TV businesses were already working with non-physical products. They should not be affected quite the same as industries that distributed paper, vinyl, etc.

    I wonder, though, if that advantage is being squandered. Although cable companies are handling digital content, they bundle and sell it as an inflexible all-or-nothing “package” that may as well be physical.

    There is still consumer demand for choice and a la carte that makes cable vulnerable to all kinds of disruption from new media.

    Comment by Don -

    • The music industry is the ultimate example of al a carte distribution of content. You can have any song you want (maybe beatles excepted), in the format you want for $1.29 or less. THe result is that the music industry shrinks. Cable is smart not to fall for that trap. The question is whether or not the video distributors can innovate their user interfaces fast enough. Dish and Direct already have (Directs’ 6 window features blow away anything on the internet). I think just by their nature of having to compete with sat and telcos will force them to. Fighting off dish/direct/verizon is a realtime threat that will push their ability to compete with the net

      Comment by markcuban -

  29. So the movie biz is in the catbird seat in terms of content distribution since they can “…offer any and all shows/movies/content that is not generating revenue in physical form to any and all download sites” while the news and music industries can’t yet do that? It seems like the music labels actually could try and band together like the movie studios if they wanted.

    Any thoughts on the AP’s announcement that they’re looking for greater control over their news feeds & partners (http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-ap-launching-newspaper-industry-campaign-to-protect-news-content/)?

    Comment by Deven -

    • I think the AP is doing the right thing. There are enough places to get the AP news from paying members and subscribers. There is nothing but downside to let nonpaying websites/bloggers reprint their content

      Comment by markcuban -

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  32. You make it sound so easy for newspapers — if only they had been more creative they would have survived. Unfortunately, a lot of them have been thinking about how to thrive in the digital age for years, and no one has gotten it right.

    The NYT and WSJ have tried and basically failed to transition their business models to be more online-centric… because at the end of the day, there is a simple rule of the Internet that is hard to overcome: No one wants to pay for something they can get for free elsewhere.

    So even if I love Thomas Friedman, I just don’t value him enough to pay $10/month for TimeSelect. Not when I can read 200 other similar commentators for free. We consumers of online news EXPECT information to be free.

    There’s simply no such thing as a significant means of “differentiation” that will allow a newspaper to capture enough ad revenue to support a free model… while maintainng any semblance of a newsroom. In short, newspapers are screwed.

    Comment by Adam -

    • you are right, there is not enough differentiation to allow them to capture ad revenue. Which is exactly why they should be experimenting with any and every model that is not ad related. They would be better off offering exclusively placed ads in exchange for a pct of a sales price than what they are doing today. As I wrote before, they would be better off doing deals with bandwidth distributors (video and ISP) in exchange for pennies per sub per month in exchange for taking their content off the open internet. That is innovative business process thinking that we are seeing none of

      Comment by markcuban -

  33. re michael … until cnbc realizes that it can’t support its editorial by giving it away either. re newspapers, they also did themselves in by competing with themselves by giving away their content for free. most ‘top blogs’ get their info from the big newspapers … when the newspapers go under, then blogs / aggregators will have nothing to link to. so you’ll be left with huffpo-like free contributors who either are self promoters, ideologues w/ an agenda, or writers wealthy enough not to be paid for their content. and as for real news of world events and the like? who the hell knows.
    enjoy the free content while it lasts. because it won’t for long … rupe’s right.

    Comment by denexile -

  34. I think one issue that is rarely addressed when comparing music versus video/newspapers is the way we use each of these types of media.

    If I like a song, I want to own it because I want to listen to it over and over, probably forever. Movies, TV shows, and newspaper articles…not so much. I want access to these things, but I don’t want to own them.

    I rarely want to watch a movie more than once, that’s why I love Netflix. I stopped buying DVDs because I have a bookcase full of them and I never watch them.

    A TV show? I watch once and I’m done. A newspaper article? I read it once. It would be nice to be able to access a newspaper article later on for whatever reason, but I’m not going to save a clipping or store it digitally on my hard drive. I used to save old magazines, but I rarely ever read them after I put them in a box to save them.

    So I guess that’s why we shouldn’t compare music and newspapers: Music is better when we own it, but newspapers/movies/TV shows are better when we “borrow” them.

    Comment by Kevin -

  35. Oh, and here’s an excellent comment from Rupert Murdoch that was made earlier today. Rupert argued that “nobody is making money with free content on the web except search [engines]. People are used to reading everything on the net for free, and that’s going to have to change.”

    Good luck with that business model. I will wait for CNBC to buy the daily WSJ and watch the video summary of every major story on their website, from my Blackberry!

    Comment by Michael -

  36. Newspapers are dying because bloggers are reproducing their news or beating them to the top stories. Entertainment is all about the experience. We watch movies at the theater for the widescreen display and amazing surround sound. We download music on our iPods so we can enjoy our daily commute on the subway. We read crumpled newspapers to get our hands dirty? I’ll pass on that. I can read TechCrunch, HuffPo and other top blogs for the latest stories. I can also check out CNN.com, WSJ.com, etc. on my Blackberry.

    Comment by Michael -

    • just remember, if it kills newspapers online, it will kill blogs as well. Major blog aggregation sites are having their own issues, and individual bloggers dont make money. The turn over in bloggers is higher than the turnover at major newspapers.

      Comment by markcuban -

  37. I don’t know much about this stuff but I do really like the idea of ala carte TV and movies by download.

    Television and film content owners have to know they will make money from New Release digital distribution. Why can’t they give that content to Netflix, iTunes,etc. on consignment and get paid based on the delivery company reporting download amounts as well as maintain their DVD rental and sales? It is the cost of producing/storing/offering two very different packages (DVD and digital) that is keeping this from happening?

    Comment by Jason -

  38. I agree with you that the comparisons are faulty (i.e. incredibly stupid). What i find INCREDIBLY STUPID is Hulu. How can the content producers give away their material, basically for free? there’s no proof that ad support can make very expensive content even close to profitable online … now disney / abc / espn wants to join the club. in what biz do you make a product available for free and then hope to figure out how to make $ later (facebook and twitter notwithstanding)? in what business do you try to protect a valuable, but declining / threatened franchise (i.e. broadcast tv) by giving away your product????

    Comment by denexile -

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