Paywall or Open Distribution? Can Media Companies Fight Aggregation and Curation? | GigaOM | Online Business Models |

Robin Good: Matthew Ingram has just published a great article on GigaOM about the news media industry and the increasing realization that the content it produces is more often than not found, discovered, shared and read somewhere else from that content originated.

He writes: " other thing that becomes clear from the Pew report is just how big a role aggregators of all kinds — both human and machine-powered — are playing in news consumption.

Despite the growing evidence to the contrary, many newspaper companies and other traditional media outlets still seem to think the vast majority of their audience comes to them directly and prefers to read their content above all other sources.

More than anything else, this is the core philosophy behind the rise of paywalls — which more and more papers are implementing — and also the millions of dollars that media companies have poured into developing iPad apps and other walled-garden-style approaches to news delivery. The assumption is that readers will want only the content that comes from that specific outlet."

But this is not anymore the case. 

"What does all of this mean for media companies?

More than anything, it means that trying to recreate the scarcity of content that used to exist in print — when media outlets controlled not only the creation of news but the platforms through which it was distributed — by using paywalls and subscription apps is fundamentally a losing battle.

...One response to that is to shrink your audience down to those who will pay, as some outlets like the Financial Times have done and several of Rupert Murdoch’s British papers are trying to do.

The other approach is to be as open and distributed as possible, to try to take advantage of the democracy of distribution instead of fighting it, and then to find other ways to monetize that audience and their attention, whether it’s e-books or live events or the “reverse paywall” model Jeff Jarvis and others have proposed.

Either way, aggregation and curation are the new reality of media, whether media companies like it or not."

Must read. 9/10

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