Criticism of the old guard think Rupert is bluffing, crazy or out of touch as he threatens to pull all of his content being indexed and displayed by Google.  The truth is all publisher’s content take resources to produce and income to sustain no matter what platform it is on.  Nothing has changed, with the big exception that we are about to save a lot of trees – finally!

John Battelle sais it best – “Just give Google summary text and headlines to index (like the W.S.J. does now), Then do your best to convert would be readers to your paid model. That’s it. What’s the big deal?”.

I do agree that it is that simple.  Publishers got themselves into this mess by giving it all away for free while not fully understanding that digital was ‘the’ vehicle vs. some new medium on the side to be toyed with.  What the publishing industry does need to better understand is how to build brands or a better voice given how news and information has become more of a commodity – and consumers understand that.

Newsweek may be onto something by highlighting their writers and editors as the stars to follow, but they need to do more.  As I have said for years now, these are channels to compete with the larger networks – not just for print but for all forms of content (audio & visual) – the sooner these organizations realize that the better.  Yes, some of them are getting it right, but no-one is being bold.  If they were, digital video, engagement and co-creation would be front and center rather than being relegated down to a segment of the publication.  Data shows that video on the NYTimes is one of the most viewed sections of their ‘channel’…move it up already!

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