Figuring Out What Consumers Will Pay For

In the current issue of Adweek, Lucia Moses describes Bloomberg LP and Thomson Reuters as “the future of news“. She makes a good case for the claim.

According to Adweek, the two companies employ 2,400 and 3,000 journalists, respectively. Both are global, and each pays more journalists than the New York Times and the Washington Post, combined.

Early in her article, Moses compares the two firms to traditional newspapers, noting that “consumers remain steadfast in their refusal to pay for news online“. I think this under-describes the problem.

Consumers have shown a significant willingness to pay for content that they value. As Moses notes, both Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters have been relentless in their efforts topackage content in ways that their readers find useful:

While print brands still struggle to adapt their content to digital platforms, these companies are churning out articles and sharing editorial costs across multiple outlets, from Web to TV to print. “This is the newsroom of the future, where television, print and digital are really connected,” says Larry Kramer, founder of CBS MarketWatch. “Each one may not have to be profitable, but they will all contribute.”

It’s more than useful to distinguish between what we value as publishers and what consumers are willing to pay for. For sixty years, long before online news, consumers wereslowly defecting from newspaper subscriptions. That was the time when we should have been asking why.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.