Will online news revenue ever reach that of printed news?


This infographic published in Paidcontent.org (and made by Scout Analytics) is very interesting in various ways.

First because it reflects one of the greatest changes the media landscape has suffered ir recent years (and is still experiencing): the current abundance of information as opposed to its previous scarcity has the effect or lowering the value of each information unit. That is the most solid argument against the possibility of the media ever discovering an alternatively sucessful business model. The problem is that argument departs from the assumption that the social role of the media would be the same in a new information environment. It will not! Maybe the social role of the media in the new world of abundant information will no longer be to carry scarce and valuable information but rather to filter and curate the referred abundance of information, which may turn out to be just as valuable. We’re not sure that is the way we’re heading, but we cannot also be sure it insn’t.

Secondly, that infographic draws its conclusions from the comparison between a reality in which media use printed paper to carry information and another reality in which they use digital processing. The two realities simply aren’t comparable. Why? Because one is “intelligent” and the other isn’t hardly as much (per comparison, it may well be considered “dumb”). The digital processing and distribution of information has been made possible by advancements in science that could not be forseen. Why would not the same advancements in science allow an “intelligent” and efficient allocation of revenue to the bits and pieces of information that flow through the web? If we can control that information in a greater number of its variables why would we not be able to control its cost and attribute its correspondent revenue? We don’t do it today, but I see no reason why we should not do it tomorow. And, of course, on that day the link between the production of content and its monetization will again be established, now in the digital world.


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