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Advice To Newspapers From The Father Of The Internet: Learn From iTunes

imageYou can now add Vint Cerf (pictured, right) to the list of proponents of micropayments as a solution to newspapers’ woes. Speaking at the Innovations in Journalism conference at Stanford University, Cerf, currently chief evangelist at Google (NSDQ: GOOG), said Apple’s iTunes model is a good example of what media companies like newspapers should be looking to as they search for a new revenue model. “Exploring alternative forms of distribution is absolutely essential,” Cerf, quoted by Internet News, said. After all, he suggested, if Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) can make a business selling songs on iTunes for 99 cents, why can’t content producers do the same?

Of course, it’s been noted many times before that Apple’s business is selling iPods and computers — the music e-tailing end is just incremental at best. So it’s not a perfect analogy. And certainly, iTunes has done more for Apple than it’s done for the record industry. Still, Cerf, who is often credited with developing the internet, says someone’s got to pay eventually: “If there’s no way to reward intellectual property, it will be difficult to come by.”

Photo Credit: Flickr/Joi

7 Responses to “Advice To Newspapers From The Father Of The Internet: Learn From iTunes”

  1. Kudos for the father of the Internet!

    Content is King, and micropayments rule…

    But where the man was when Yahoo and Google started to dismantle the kingdom by promoting the "revolutionary" free services and user-generated stuff (not to say “a cesspool of misinformation”) Didn't he see then that the ad-supported model cannot work forever nor for al, that there will be many victims of that “revolution”?

  2. Benjamin Chen

    I agree in general that music is often replayed and that late breaking news in general is widely available often for free. I would be willing to pay for news content if it was provided on a different platform, say a device centric ereader or iTablet, and that the content was delivered in an optimized presentation with meta data enhancements to make my consumption experience more optimal and ultimately more meaninful and efficient.

  3. Take out the Apple Store, and how is iTunes all that different from any RSS reader? What iTunes did, first and foremost, was give people a way to find and buy music. It exploited an existing demand for digital music (demonstrated by Naptser and friends) for which there was no convenient market.

    News has a different problem: There are too many markets (from the perspective of suppliers, not consumers). A news site could certainly develop an iTunes-like site for news, sell articles individually or as a subscription, but there's nothing to prevent users from going to competitors who offer content for free and make their money off advertising.

  4. Jay Rock

    The iTunes model could be employed much the way that television shows are purchased as subscriptions, i.e. The Daily Show or The Colbert Report delivering new episodes during the weekdays. People can opt for newspaper subscriptions, or buy days individually. OR, like in the case with applications for the iTunes app store, "updates" could be pushed for download and an application for NYT, for example, could be updated with information as part of a model. Music is what comes to mind first for most people when the iTunes store is brought up, but they have many different content delivery options.

  5. "…if Apple can make a business selling songs on iTunes for 99 cents, why can’t content producers do the same?"

    For one reason, people listen to songs many times. No one reads an article more than once.

    Maybe this just lowers the price of an article to something below 99 cents, but it really shows that the music-news analogy is not that solid.