Friday, February 5, 2016
News on internet work. More and more people in the US and in Europe are willing to go digital. Even more stunning, more and more people are willing to pay a subscription. After all, the New York Times has one million digital subscribers.
And yet, the future of digital news is not fully safe. There are still many uncertainties as two recent events prove it.
First Politico. This website devoted to US politics is a tremendous success. Starting ten years ago, it employs 300 people and breaks even thanks to its very expansive newsletters. However Politico seems to bee in trouble. Its best journalists have left, last week following a conflict with their owner, Washington media group Allbriton. It seems that there was a deep desagreement on the development of the group. The owner has pushed for the creation of Politico Europe which started in Brussels one year ago. The staff wanted to launch new sites in all the main american cities. Finally, the owner has won and we'll see if his strategy proves right.
Same uncertainties with the Guardian. Its digital audience of 50 million UV's is remarkable. It has set up branches in the US and in Australia and has become a world reference for news, even winning a Pulitzer prize for its NSA disclosures.
And yet the Guardian announced drastic measures to reduce losses that amount to 70 million euros per year and would make the group bankrupt in 5 years. The fact is that contrary to the NYT or the Washington Post, the Guardian has always refused to set a paywall. Its website is free and advertising is not enough to make for the costs of an ambitious website and a falling print edition. It is obvious that the management faces a quandary and will have to build up a new strategy.
Still the NY Times is not out the woods. It finds it more and more difficult to increas its huge population of subscribers while costs keep rising with a newsroom of 1200 journalists.