Thursday, June 15

Same old same old news

News websites are all the same. News on the web is generic. Regurgitated. These are some of the comments in Mark Cuban's post "Where newspapers kick the internet's behind".

It's a straw poll of one, but it's also quite refreshing to hear a hugely successful internet entrepreneur giving newspapers their respect. He argues that when you go online for news, you get the same AP feed generic news and if you are lucky, it has been reworded. I think he's right.

Newspapers continue to be the most reliable source of in-depth, well written, original and challenging news across a wide range of subjects. To differentiate a site with original content gives readers a deeper brand experience and a desire to return.

In theory, this is a compelling reason for news sites to invest. Unfortunately the current advertising model that supports most news sites doesn't differentiate between 'original' and 'regurgitated' news. That is to say, a thousand PI's to the generic story is as valuable to advertisers as the article supported by a team of journalists. Advertising buying online must evolved to include other measures of quality and depth - time spent, mouse-tracking...

The Long-Tail also plays a significant role. The generic breaking news story inevitably gets all the traffic volume, the well-thought through 'expensive' piece that follows sits in the long-tail. The faster the article appears, the closer to the front of the tail (so the more traffic and $'s is generated) it will be.

The Guardian announced on Monday that articles would be published to the web first. They've taken the first mover advantage to differentiate themselves, bringing the story closer to the front of the tail along with the volume and revenue.

Will this make you more inclined to read the Guardian online? Probably...
If you're are a Guardian newspaper reader will you drop the paper? I suspect not.


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