CSM Editor: ‘News is Free’ Era is Over
A Digital Velocity report.
American Business Media, the b-to-b publishing trade association, produced its downsized Digital Velocity conference on Tuesday, a free event delivered almost entirely online.
During the first keynote, Christian Science Monitor editor John Yemma called this the worst recession since the 1930s, the end of the Internet growth era, and the end of the notion that “news is free.”
“The old watchdog function of the news media is being fundamentally challenged now,” said Yemma. “I hope this can be done by bloggers, but I’m not sure it can be.”
CSM dropped its daily print edition in favor of a weekly, online daily model this past fall. “The decision to do this was about two years in the making,” Yemma said. “We took a deep dive into our financials and best practices, which included prototyping and market research. The tipping point came last summer when the obvious choice was digital.”
He added: “Everyone talks multiplatform, but we couldn’t have made this decision if we hadn’t done the groundwork a few years ago.”
The goal, Yemma said, was to make the move to the Web first, then develop robust social media. “The Internet isn’t just about paperless publishing, it’s about interactivity,” he said. Yemma said he hopes to grow page views 5-fold between 2009 and 2013, which would put the company at a break-even point.
The half-day event, shot at ABM’s New York offices, had approximately 50 b-to-b live attendees and speakers, with participants viewing from 49 locations across the Web, ABM said.
Digital Velocity concluded with an interactive roundtable from participants in the ABM offices focused on driving digital revenue, lead generation, and investing in new technologies where they discussed the challenges of monetizing video in the b-to-b market, the cost of content creation, and revenue through paid, subscription-based models.