Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

Pirate Google

Originally I considered Ruper Murdoch a blow hard in his attacks on Google.  I mean, give me a break.  Almost 15 years into the world wide web and search engines bringing content free to seekers, the tide seems to have already turned. It is like Britain taking up the cause to bring the US back into its fold over 234 years after the revolution. Though, there is a bit of a point to be made that is finally coming to the surface outside the Australian mud slinging.  Content produced is an asset for news organizations. In any other media industry such as TV, movies, and music, copyright protection laws preserve the asset. Why not news content?

Compare online media to television media.  TV is not free as consumers have to pay for the connection on average of $600 per year and as high as $2000 depending on the service.  Fees are pushed back to service providers from the content network of about 3¢ to 25¢ per subscriber which is included in this subscription service.  Google on the other hand acts as a service provider like a cable tv company and pays nothing.  In fact, it makes money off servicing advertisers both in delivery of advertising though PPC  and through Doublclick by placing ads on content provider sites such as News Corp’s.  MSN/Bing and Yahoo! are the same.

Now you can say that News Corp makes money by selling placements on their websites but as we see, this doesn’t pay the bills.  Revenue from subscriptions dwindles and isn’t re-cooped through fee collected from Google or any other search engine or advertising network.  They can add more placement space but this diminishes the experience and dissuades visitors in the long run that can actually hurt their advertising revenue stream with reduced visitation.

There are a few ways to alleviate the issue:

  • Google and other search engines pay fees to content networks.  However, how do you distinguish a News Corp from a blogger?  At least in tv there are limited number of content creators.  The web has millions.
  • Internet service providers collect fees in their subscriptions related to “premium” content and manage access to sites similarly to cable or satellite services.  Although today, ISPs are not necessarily set up or have the infrastructure to do so.
  • Google is looking at limiting search results to content on sites like those of News Corp.  This will only go so far and may actually hurt ad revenue in the long run.
  • Content providers can add code to block search engines but again, this can hurt ad sales by blocking ad networks and PPC.
  • News sites can turn their websites into paid sites to recoup subscriptions.  While sites like the Wall St. Journal, Harvard Business Review, and others do this, revenue is modest and may not ultimately sustain the industry.

Balancing fairness of access to asset content is not an easy proposition.  On one hand the access to news consumers have today is a huge benefit.  On the other, quality news content costs money to produce.  I may not buy a paper or magazine to get my news anymore, but I still highly value quality unbiased information.  I will pay for my news, but news should be widely available to keep us educated and informed.

Tough call.  For now, I’ll rely on Google “pirating” content.  What else is there to do?


Filed under: communication, news media, , , , , ,



Bookmark and Share

Blog Archive