Monday, March 12, 2012

Germans and Newspapers

There is a discussion underway in Germany....over a problem very similar in nature that the US has.....newspapers losing profit.  The belief is that people are buying fewer newspapers because they are getting the news via bloggers and internet sources.....hitting the actual newspaper, and publishing it via Goggle or Yahoo.

The current government of Germany (the CDU) would like to fix this issue.  So the logic is that internet companies ought to pay for their use of the German newspaper site.  Naturally, most internet companies and bloggers are against this.

There are a couple of observations that you can make over this issue.  First, if various newspapers started to go out of business.....then the internet wouldn't have any news to guide consumers to anyway.  So it might be in the best interest of all....not to screw up what exists now.

Second, to be honest, I doubt that the internet companies would ever be able to compensate each individual newspaper make up for the current losses situation.  A lot of folks gaze at an entire newspaper, and when it comes down actual news items.....they read five articles out of the whole paper.  Readers have become picky, and curious only about certain items (like sports or political news).

Third, we are approaching this situation where twenty Germans in Wiesbaden could band together and become this roving and independent news source....simply by using Facebook and Twitter.  They could easily pick up ten thousand daily viewers and probably put stiff competition against the local newspaper.  Toss in some ad capability and gossip....they'd probably double their viewership in twelve months.

Fourth, and final.....even if you made up a law forcing internet companies to share some profit might still have German newspapers which don't attract digital readers.  Eventually, some papers would come forward and ask that all digital monies from the internet companies go into a big bucket, so they can all share the wealth.

There'll be something made up into a law by the Bundestag, but I wouldn't want to speculate on the effective nature of it, in the end.

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