Photo: Twitter/Bob Buch
AOL’s VP of Business Development Bob Buch has a blog post up exploring the economics of content, and they way we think about journalism.It’s a good read on its own, but it’s especially interesting to read in the context of AOL’s drive towards premium journalism and story telling.
The bottom line from Buch, “As business people, we need to do better. Let’s start being more creative about how to get creative people paid.”
Some key points from his post:
- We should stop calling journalism “content” because it devalues and commoditizes the product. (Some might see irony in that since AOL was pushing its AOL Way, which commoditized news, not that long ago.)
- He takes a critical look at subscription models, writing, “I would argue that charging consumers to read news articles is not only bad for consumers, it’s also bad for journalists.” He thinks they lead to misaligned goals between a reporter and a publication. A reporter wants to get as many pageviews as possible. A publisher chokes back those pageviews with subscriptions.
- Maybe journalism needs a platform like Netflix to work. He suggests a single distribution point that pays for the content to be produced by outsiders. Sounds sort of like what AOL is doing with HuffPo as the main portal for news. Or, he mentions AOL Editions its Flipboard wannabe.