In an ideal world, the internet would, and should, be the medium the British creative industries could have used to go from being great to globally dominant. Media is one of the few sectors and products which the internet can actually deliver perfectly and seamlessly without the need for a van dropping off packages.
Technological innovation doesn’t have to be at odds with a sustainable business model for the news industry. There’s no need to implement massively complicated technology, or to involve obscure crypto currencies and blockchain. The news industry has had a sustainable business model in the past; it just needs to adapt that model to the digital age.
Imagine a world of cash only spending, but where the smallest unit of currency is a £10 note. And in this world, pricing hasn’t adjusted to that: if you want something cheap, you either need to buy a lot of it or pay too much for it.
That’s the world of the Internet for news publications.
It took a long time for the news industry to really embrace the reality that they need consumer revenues to survive and thrive. Having reached it, though, a new pessimism seems to be growing. The initiatives that have been widely implemented aren’t working well enough. A lot of that has to do with the language we’re using.
This article originally appeared on What’s New In Publishing, on 26/10/2018. You can read it here.
Micropayments hold a tantalisingly simple and practical solution for the crisis faced by the news publishing industry today. The only thing that’s been preventing them so far is that there hasn’t been innovative enough technology – and an informed enough business model – to unlock their potential.
The problem the press suffers from, put simply, is that it can’t make enough money. This isn’t, on the whole, because it is less relevant. More people read newspapers online than ever read them in print.
The problem is that being more popular doesn’t make them more money. When this happens it’s a sign of a basic problem in a market. Generally speaking, being more popular – selling more – is the key to success in any business.