1/14/2008

google owns you and me, and nyt money?

From what Sam talked about the music industry, copyright, author, public amatual vs. professional producer, and a short talk by the CEO of New York Times online, and some articles I read recently, I started understanding the tough situation of New York Times in the free culture culture, the value of the intellectual property, and the issue of how Times positions itself. But still have a lot questions about the relationship: (competing and / or cooperating) between traditional news giants and news online aggragators, e.g. google news. What I wrote here was more about raising a series of questions than answering them.

New york times, the paper, used to playing the role of content producer, with the notion that content is the key. Money is spent on sending "brains" , I mean, journalists, :), out to collect useful information and bring reports and insights back, like how bees work. The value is the information, such as the best restaurants those journalists found, the movie rate and critique those journalists gave, and of course, the fresh news. More importantly, the value comes from the insightful insights, critiques and thoughts triggered from those news facts, which other small news publishers, amateurs or even word of mouths can't achieve, which is the intellectual property.

Readers spent money on the quality of intellectual property which carries by the news, and/or spent money on the news, the information, such as the classification advertisements, the rate, the weather report, etc.

But while things are moving to internet world, information itself, such as those news, weather reports, etc, is not that valuable. Because there are so many news from news aggregators, such as Google news, which has no editor, but computers; no human intellectual property coming out of the head quarters, but an algorithm that crawls through news sources, such as CNN, NEW YORK TIMES, and more important, those are free. Some people stopped subscribing NYT anymore and switched to Google News.

What's the strength of NYT, a news giant, which has its own traditional business model? Content is not that valuable? True, since there's no way to compete with free stuff which has the same quality. NYT needs to pay money to those wandering brains, going out of the office, collecting information traditionally. But content, which is the key of NYT, could still be quite valuable to a lot readers, who seeks authority.

How can NYT compete with such kind of news aggregators, who could keep the cost much lower than NYT, but could gain revenue by its new business model: providing short & free news, which have already satisfied some readers and linking to other websites, which gave readers more access.

As to the revenue model, I still need to do more research: if google crawls over those news websites and gets links from them, and google didn't spend any money on journalists or editors, but google rely on those news companies to provide really good content, then shouldn't google give money or benefit to CNN, NYT online, etc ? how much money should google give? If we say the traditional news giant has to rely on google to bring readers to their websites, should they pay money to google? It seems NYT is losing its readers to google news, but it's also getting readers from google news, its competitor.

1 comment:

socrates_in_trousers said...

Google is also leading more traffic to the original providers of news, which by logic would mean more revenue for their online portals. So instead of google having to give them money, they are generating traffic for them, which in the online world translates to money. i suppose..
However, where google cannot compete with NYT or any other generator of news is the human element. Google's algorithm selects news and sources in a way that is not transparent to the reader.. so i dont understand why google.. Google is only giving the mainstream more teeth and news that has already appeared in multiple instances more weightage.. so in my opinion, google is subtly aiding a system of news generation that may be flawed!

however, look at startups like www.faceoftruth.com for example. they have sources that google doesnt have. so they are adding value to the mainstream and giving the reader something that google might have missed out. and more importantly, since they are not crawling the cyber universe for all known sources of news,their break news faster. Like on monday for example, the afghan blast story appeared on face of truth almost as soon as the news was broken by an agency, while it took another two hours before it appeared on google.

Now i wouldnt know if its because that particular agency does not carry google ads!!!