How to save the news
James Fallows has an excellent cover story in the current Atlantic. Here’s a taste:
Online display ads may not be so valuable now, [Neal Mohan of Google] said, but that is because we’re still in the drawn-out “transition” period. Sooner or later—maybe in two years, certainly in 10—display ads will, per eyeball, be worth more online than they were in print.
How could this be? In part, he said, today’s discouraging ad results simply reflect a lag time. The audience has shifted dramatically from print to online. So has the accumulation of minutes people choose to spend each day reading the news. Wherever people choose to spend their time, Mohan said, they can eventually be “monetized”—the principle on which every newspaper and magazine (and television network) has survived until today. “This [online-display] market has the opportunity to be much larger,” he said. It was about $8 billion in the U.S. last year. “If you just do the math—audience coming online, the time they spend—it could be an order of magnitude larger.” In case you missed that, he means tenfold growth.
It’s a fascinating piece, and goes into great depth on the curious role Google is playing in that companies efforts to shore up the news industry. After all – where would Google be without lots of robust online organizations to place its ads?