Monetization of media: news as a commodity and a public right

6 Apr

Is news a commodity? Is it a public right? Or is it both? One thing is for certain: the monetization of digital news is becoming more prevalent every day.

In Matthew Ingram’s article, “The monetization dilemma for media: Paywalls on one side, advertising on the other,” he discusses the ever-increasing search for an effective method to generate revenue in the online market. He mentions that the Washington Post will release a paywall of its own sometime this year.

“It’s a dilemma that almost every media entity, large or small — both digital and non-digital — is struggling with, as advertising continues to decline and no new source of revenue has emerged to take its place,” Ingram writes.

As revenue becomes more of a focal point for news outlets, news distances itself from being simply a public right.

In his article, “News as a Commodity,” Terry Heaton argues that media is becoming more of a commodity.

“The point is that media itself is being commoditized and, along with it, the content it provides,” Heaton says. “This is a key fruit of the personal media revolution, and already the economics of media are shifting in response. No longer can news content alone carry the burden of supporting the specialized infrastructures and distribution models of media of the past. No longer is “news” sufficient to justify subscriber fees or high dollar ad models, because consumers are increasingly deciding that it’s all the same.”

He mentions how last year CNN dropped its pay-per-view service in favor of an ad-supported model because it was not producing the amount of revenue CNN had hoped for.

In “Is Media Becoming a Commodity,” Mike Sweeney supports the premise that news is becoming more of a commodity. He uses the beliefs of others to further enforce this idea.

“The buying business has become much more commoditized,” [Michael Roth] emphasized, “and when you’re dealing with any commodity, the key component of that is are you getting the better price. If there’s a competitor out there that can provide a better price, then quite frankly, we don’t get the business.”

Roth is the Chairman/CEO of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

There is a transition taking place; one that is revoking news as a public right and turning it into a commodity.

A commodity is something that can be bought or sold. In this case, ad space is being purchased by advertisers, while it is being sold by online news sites. News is a public right as well. It is important for the public to educate itself about current events. People deserve to know what is happening in the world, but due to the inability for online news outlets to generate significant revenue, news is becoming more of a paid commodity than it has ever been before. Nowadays, it is hard to find news without having to subscribe or pay for content.

News is still, in fact, a public right. However, it is becoming more of a commodity because of recent monetary difficulties.

What do you think is the role of the news?



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