Saturday, January 27, 2007

Guardian hints at business model for web transition

The buildup to an open Davos online was impressive. Jeff Jarvis promoted the "davos07" tag on YouTube. Today's Guardian however only has space for print journalists and Ken Livingstone from the "Comment is Free" pages. Maybe Jeff Jarvis will turn up on Monday.

I did get a response though to a comment on the Alan Rusbridger post after a meeting on newspapers. He stated that although the online part of the Guardian is in profit it would probably need more investment so would go back to losses. Another post hinted at a discussion on the costs involved in building a website while margins on print publishing declined. A problem with both reports was the 'Chatham House Rules' whereby the media folk agreed that they could not be quoted.

By contrast the web discussion seems to have been more open. There are transcripts and podcasts etc.

Arianna Huffington has written that "Taking part in a number of Davos sessions on the state of the media (and sitting in on a number of others) is a bit like watching the characters in a slasher film: Who will be the next one to be gutted and left for dead by the crazed killer (in this case, the new media revolution)?.....Even in the glorious confines of Davos, the fear is palpable. In contrast, the power players of the new media - Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Chad Hurley of YouTube, Caterina Flake of Flcker, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook -- are all smiles."

I think there is a business model for a news organisation to transition to combining with the web. There is a cost for gathering news and then cost and income for both print and web. One problem is that maybe things are now moving more quickly than expected. As stated at We Media lat year, maybe not every news organisation will make the transition.

Although the print media have kept the details vague, I think this Davos discussion is a defining event. Print is now part of something else. Sometime soon the Guardian will start to report this, for example mentioning the web when covering ABC figures on print circulation.


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