In his blog, Reflections of a Newsosaur, Alan Mutter — a Silicon Valley CEO and a former newspaper reporter, columnist and executive — says nearly half of newspaper publishers don’t believe they can succeed at charging consumers for content.
I think Mutter sounds like a smart guy, and his blog is great; just having stumbled across it I’ve put it on my blogroll. However, what he sees as the glass half-empty looks to me like it’s half-full. I’m pleased and impressed that just over half of newspaper publishers think they can charge for content.
As Seth Godin, another of my blogroll favorites, says: Success is mostly about your attitude. Which means the newspaper business is half-way home to figuring out how and why people are going to pay for their content. I’m not saying it’s an easy task, or that the tradeoff in revenue — advertising and classified for reader payments — is a neat-and-clean one-to-one swap. (It really doesn’t have to be; online content doesn’t come with huge printing and distribution costst, but that’s a digression). Like I said, I’m pleased to hear that half of the U.S. newspaper industry is giving itself a fighting chance at success.