Mapping Digital Media: Digitization and Media Business Models
The Open Society Media Program has commissioned background papers on a range of topics that are important for understanding the effects of new technology on media and journalism. The papers accompany a series of reports, "Mapping Digital Media," on the impact of digitization on democracy in 60 countries around the world.
Media businesses need to be sustainable, but their traditional sources of income are, in many cases, drying up. In this paper, Robert Picard explains why this is happening, and what media outlets can do about it.
While the internet creates opportunities for news and general information providers, it yields only limited monetization. It disaggregates news content, thus stripping it of the bundled value it creates in print. At the same time, international and national news have become ubiquitous and available on many platforms at little if any cost to the end-consumer.
Yet there is still a role for content creators and aggregators (newspapers, magazines, broadcast channels and internet sites) to make selections and provide quality control. This role is badly needed by consumers, who are overwhelmed by news, information, entertainment, and marketing messages. Faced with this cornucopia, consumers need to become more literate about information and entertainment processes and sources.