The Coming Media Shift

September 16, 2009

One year after the collapse of Wall Street signaled the start of the Great Recession, another struggling industry is moving fast to change. And by change I mean charge. There’s been a seismic shift in online journalism, from a philosophy of free content to one where everything may soon disappear behind pay walls.

Say goodbye to the era of the Free Internet. The New York Times recently wrote how Steven Brill and Journalism, once the lone venture seeking to build a paid online model for newspapers and magazines, suddenly has competition.

Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena said media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and tech giants Google, Microsoft and IBM have each announced plans to develop pay systems for media companies. Murdoch owns the Wall Street Journal, the one major paper which already successfully charges for online content.

Read the Times story here:

What’s interesting about the looming shift in online journalism is how the media itself has resisted. From reporters and editors to industry insiders and executives, the cry has been that a pay model would never work.

Many news organizations tried to charge – unsuccessfully — for content at the dawn of the Internet in the mid 1990s. Back then, customers revolted because newspaper penetration was high in most communities and the online content was little more than a less-glitzy version of the print edition.

Not today. There’s far more content online, including multimedia offerings such as video and photo galleries, than in the daily paper. And with the advent of Open ID-style systems, a pay model to view content from multiple news sources is possible – and inevitable.

The traction for this move has come in the last year. The latest economic crisis forced many businesses to rethink how they operate. An advertising crunch has online media considering a fundamental shift. And it’s coming fast.

On Long Island, Newsday has a unique path toward this. Cablevision bought the paper last summer and has moved quickly to use the content as a selling point to fend off hard-charging Verizon. So what does it mean locally? If you already subscribe to Newsday or Cablevision — nothing. But if not, get ready to lose access to Newsday.

Also, Cablevision, in partnership with Newsday, is launching MSG Varsity, a high school sports channel. It’s the first such network in the nation. And once again, it’s content that’s available only through Cablevision. Expect more innovation to come in the next few years.

Blog originally posted at LI

Happy Anniversary LI

June 19, 2009

LI launched one year ago today. The site had no ambition other than to provide a virtual hub to network and exchange ideas. We’re now 100 members and growing.

It’s been a year of tremendous economic challenges across the globe and here on Long Island, perhaps the most demanding environment in decades. And yet we persist, and continue to chase our dreams fuelled by entrepreneurial spirit – and lots of caffeine.

So let’s celebrate our brotherhood. Because if there is someone who knows what challenges you confront on a daily basis, it’s the good people of LI Local business owners empowering each other is the essence of this group. As we kick off a new year on this social network, please contribute to the conversation and bring newcomers into the fold.

+ Talk shop with a colleague? Ask that person to join.

+ Is there a debate or issue out there you have an interest in? Post a blog and get the conversation going online.

+ Know of an event that might be helpful? Add it to the calendar.

LI should be a resource. Use it and we’ll all prosper. Knowledge is power.

Blog originally posted at LI

Small Biz And The Net

June 25, 2008

Whenever I meet a small business owner, more often than not they are resistent to the Internet. It’s a dirty word; a foreign world. There’s no way any of their potential customers troll around the net looking for them. That’s where many proprietors are making a serious mistake.

It’s no longer enough to hang out a shingle and place an ad in the phone book. If that’s all you do, you are living in a bygone era. And your business might follow.

Search is what has turned Google into a powerhouse and why Microsoft is scrambling for a piece of the action. Anyone under the age of 30 goes to the net first to look up products and services. Any local merchant with a stand-alone web site has an instant edge.

In other words, a web presence is essential.It’s like trying to run a cleaners without hangers or a deli minus a cash register. Consider it infrastructure. And believe it or not, a personalized web site doesn’t need to be a costly investment. If your web site brings in just one new regular customer that just might offset the cost. And in the bottom-line world of small business, that’s a rationalization owners need to be willing to make.

Blog originally posted at LI