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@ World Newspaper Congress: Dow Jones CEO: Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts

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At the World Newspaper Congress here in Hyderabad this afternoon, Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) CEO Les Hinton came out swinging against the world in general, as is the wont of every News Corp exec these days. More specifically, against “geeks bearing gifts”, “false gospel of the Web” and “out & out thieves on the Internet.” It is a familiar cry, one spitted out by the overlord and repeated in slightly more eloquent and dulcet tones by the underlings, including Hinton. Read the full speech, below:

“I was invited here to talk about the value of journalism. About how we at News Corp and Dow Jones have worked to create a debate about the future of journalism in the digital world.
We have deployed some lavish language to stir things up.
We have called Google (NSDQ: GOOG) a digital vampire, and a parasite.
We have pointed the finger at the content kleptomaniacs of the internet whose business models depend on purloining the expensive journalism of mainstream media.
But now a little context. I use Google just as most of do. What it does to enhance and enrich our lives makes it a true wonder of the age.
It is true that Google is at the heart of the crisis confronting journalism today. That their almost incalculable

9 Responses to “@ World Newspaper Congress: Dow Jones CEO: Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts”

  1. nevo hadas

    Yikes! stop complaining and look for the opportunity already.

    journalism is not newspapers.

    most people get their news from (wait for it…) the TV. yup – CNN breaks news. newspapers lag behind.

    wake up. your only hope is online to beat TV. it allows you to get a news item out there quickly. newspapers as a medium dont work in a real-time world because they are from a different era.

    also, newspapers are not all about "quality content". how much is actual investigative journalism vs opinion or just following a breaking news story and rewriting it? are those worth any more.

    and to end my rant: in newspapers you have a limited number of pages and high cost of distribution, therefore the more people you have reading your paper, the more that advert space is worth. this leads to very high margins. the ads are sold even if nobody looks at them – so its great for the publisher (zero risk or accountability for quality)
    on-line, a news item is only read if it has value (accountable for quality) and because the same number of ads appear each time the story is viewed there is no price increase linked to the number of viewers. there is a revenue increase ( more people have seen the story) but not a price increase – and that means that you often cannot cash in on a big story because you did not sell that value of inventory.

  2. Pretendiname

    One of the fallacies is that 'free' means no profit. Andrew Keen, founder of the now defunct 'Audio Cafe' tried to argue that “User generated media is killing our culture and the economy”.
    One argument he made used the staple measure of a successful media, pornography. He suggested that 'voyeur web' provided free content, and sites such as this was destroying the conventional pornographic industry.
    Whoever runs that site is no doubt running it at a profit. They probably hold the rights to any novel content coming in via there site. I am certain that they have grasped how to make a good living from free content.

  3. Chui Tey

    The real problem newspapers have is that web stats bring more accountability. For example I don't read the sports pages, yet I'm counted in the circulation numbers when sales staff pitch ad space.

    Furthermore, newspapers sales staff are local, not global and are not able to sell ad space like Google does. Murdoch could change that.

    Newspapers could also use some of their SEO juice to power affiliate marketing pages. Ask for Expression of Interests to partner up with product companies, product review companies.

    Journalism never paid on it's own. It pays for eyeballs. And as it turns out, reading eyeballs doesn't pay either. Only browsing eyeballs notice ads. Google sends newspaper reading eyeballs, eyeballs with reading intent, while keeping the best, eyeballs with buying intent for itself.

  4. Tom Campbell

    Barney Kilgore also said over 25+ years ago "when you can take computers in the can newspapers are dead".

    Google should hire the journalists and reporters away from the WSJ and have them create their own company run by journalists and reporters. The journalists and reporters do the bulk of the profitable work they should get th bulk of the profits.

  5. Jon Renaut

    It's really amusing that everyone who is losing money because they can't adapt to change always points to the WSJ and YouTube to try and make a point. YouTube, Google's big failure among so many successes, and WSJ, who can charge for online content because most people think they provide the best journalism out there.

    Using the outliers and exceptions to make your generalizations is what leads to hilarious, ridiculous, and completely absurd speeches like this one.

  6. There's not enough advertising to support these sites because bulk of the advertisers spend only a small fraction of their budget on digital advertising…so even though most consumers are digitally active…majority of the advertisers continue to chase them on traditional mediums like Newspapers and Television.

  7. Scott Walker

    Let's see: I create content; Google discovers content and displays it to people whose search resonates with that content; and people then come to the content I created. Since I haven't put up a pay wall, they see it for free. And that's Google's fault? That whole argument doesn't make sense at all, and naming Google as the villain diverts attention from the real issues: a LOT of content, existing for users most often apart from the creator, and the failure to put up a pay wall. Go right ahead with that wall; we won't see you later.

  8. Ian Lamont

    Thanks for posting this transcript. I think the most interesting item was Hinton's claim that click-oriented ads are relatively worthless, compared to simple display advertising on quality news sites like the WSJ. Is that what the advertising industry really wants, simple branding? Or does it want highly engaged users in their target demographics clicking up a storm?

    Another thing that's apparent from reading this is Dow Jones believes Fair Use and weak enforcement of copyright laws are impediments to its operations. It wants to set back the clock to the days when information was controlled by a small group of very profitable publishers. But as long as Twitterers, bloggers, and aggregators are able to talk about/reprint small excerpts of news reported by MSM outlets, that will lessen audiences dependence upon the large outlets and keep ad rates down. The question I have after reading this is what Murdoch et al plan to do about Fair Use and copyrights — lobby the government? Sue bloggers and Google?