Apres the Revolution, what happens to the blogs?
Posted November 23, 2009on:
Let’s say that the iThing, and all the tablets like it, are indeed the magic bullets for the publishing business: People are willing to pay for reliable, produced and highly packaged content. The e-mag experience is way more fun, useful and convenient than the paper magazine. And advertising—full page, video heavy, relevant, measurable—lifts off like a rocket.
We can assume that publishers will slowly stop giving away their exclusive content for free online. Many big media sites will become more like billboards, advertising the bounty that lies within pay walls, without giving away the value.
To be sure, the closer you are to news, the more you’ll still have to give away something for free. So the New York Times, Time Magazine, CNN.com and so on will still have to give away the fungible stuff. But the exclusive, the highly produced and packaged—all that will start living inside paid apps.
Naturally, that’ll make it a little harder for blogs to grab the interesting bits from the pros, at least to the extent they do now. I assume, for instance, that rights holders will be more vigilant in enforcing “fair-use” limitations.
But the rising tide will lift all boats—and the blogs too, especially the established ones.
That’s because the same benefits that tablets bestow on old media will accrue to new media as well—in spades.
At the low end of the food chain, the opinion-based and gossip-mongering blogs probably won’t get subscription revenue, as they adapt to the “page” format of a tablet, they will almost certainly enjoy far better advertising revenue.
The real winners, I suspect, will be blogs and small sites that do original reporting, and are scaled in a lightweight way, with low overhead, lean staffs and a mass of loyal readers. It’s pretty easy to imagine a world in which, say, TechCrunch or TPM or even something more capital-intensive such as Slate, Makes $$$ Fast in the next few years and becomes the most efficient business model.