Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on January 19th, 2009

Will There Be iNews in 2009?

online-newspaper.jpgIt’s not even spring yet, but you can feel the wind shifting directions. Accountability is riding the wind, along with lateral thinking, new regulation, and enough cedar and mold to make a kleenex box book a flight to Jamaica. Of course we are in central Texas, where the winter is a suggestion and the summer is the party guest who shows up too early and stays too late. However, geography isn’t much of a factor when it comes to getting your online music or news. Recently, iTunes, changed its tune and announced that songs would no longer be sold with copying restrictions. No longer will there be digital rights management and the 99 cent price point that Apple held so tyrannically. I remember when iTunes first started and the music industry was being held over the coals by free file sharing. It took a Festivus miracle for Apple to combine the ease of iTunes’ user interface and the cooperation of the music industry to be able to charge for its music content in the first place. iTunes pulled the music industry off the ledge, and all those music companies, despite their renewed chorus of whines, are still in business. Digital music had it’s growing pains, but has recovered appropriately. Now it’s the online news industry’s turn and they have to adjust their direction. Should online news go against the wind, or will there be iNews in 2009?

The newspaper business is hoping that someone like Apple comes along and convinces millions of readers who get their news online for free that it’s time to pay. For a long time, newspapers assumed that their online advertising revenue who keep them floating on the wind. The cost of real news-gathering is not supported by display ads or revenue share from having a Google search box in the corner of the page. Newspapers are entering bankruptcy as their audience grows, and there is a drastic need to change the business model.

Is there a way to reverse the expectation that information should be free? We saw it happen to music's expectation and we found out quickly that ‘free’ is not a business model. As the newspapers are adjusting to the realities of digital, there could be an emergence of a news user interface that will make it easy and convenient for digital news to be consumed, for the right price. There are a few pay newspaper sites, The Wall Street Journal is one of them, and most web news require a paying subscription for the juicy or late-breaking articles. The digital decimation of professionally-gathered information is just going through a financial transition that will re-adjust the way news is brought to the public. Don’t be surprised if you see an iPod-type device this year that will have a large 8 inch screen specifically for online magazines or newspapers. It’s not about the newspaper anymore, it’s all about iNews.

Do you want to ride the wind and survive this economical cold front? I suggest you invest in a weather vane and an SEO blanket, my friend. If there is a buzz word of your marketing budget this year, it should be search engine optimization. We will help your online business get ranked higher in all the major search engines, optimize your conversion rates, and increase your profit margins. If you haven’t made more money than our services cost by the end of your contract with us, we will work free until you do.

Volacci. Your Profit. Our Passion.