The Ubiquity of Information Kills Paid Content

by Dan Blank on August 8, 2007

Two interesting stories on how the ubiquity of information on the web is making it very challenging for traditional publishers to differentiate their content from the competition.

27/7 Wall Street comments on how Portfolio, the new magazine from Conde Nast, is having a hard time offering anything timely or unique on their website:

“Why would so few people visit the Portfolio website? For starters, the lead stories are old. A look at the top five stories on the site at 8.30 AM has pieces based on news that is 12 hours to 24 hours old… There is nothing wrong with any of these stories, but there is nothing right with them either. Most of it is stuff readers can get at Yahoo! Finance or”

Since the print edition is a monthly, the question becomes: what is compelling enough about this brand to engage readers and build a community?

As the NY Post reports on the New York Times making their TimesSelect service free, Scott Karp points out the difficultites for media players to charge for information:

“The new economics of media make charging for content nearly impossible because there is always someone else producing similar content for free — even if the free content isn’t “as good as” the paid content by some meaningful metric, it doesn’t matter because there’s so much content of at least proximate quality that the paid content provider has virtually no pricing power. As smart, talented, and insightful as the New York Times columnists behind the paid wall are, the are too many other smart, talented, insightful commentators publishing their thoughts on the web for free.”

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