Thursday, November 5, 2009

A biz model emerges in Texas for journalists and newpapers in the economy of "free."

On Monday, the Texas Tribune website went live. I tweeted:
"Texas Tribune "Everything . . can be republished on line or in print" <>

Everything the site produces can be used by others—the databases, including every state financial disclosure statements going back 10 years, can be downloaded; the stories can be republished online or in print.
From Forbes:
the Tribune will partner with 10 newspapers and six TV stations to distribute content. In the works is a Tribune series called a "Texas Politics Minute," expected to air three times a week.

If you give away the content, where's the revenue stream?
It already has one premium product—the Texas Weekly, a well-respected state politics newsletter acquired earlier this year; Ross Ramsey, the editor, came with it and is the new site’s managing editor. (Ramsey and Smith are acknowledged as cofounders.) Smith says the weekly newsletter has some 1,200 subscribers at $250 a year. The goal is to grow the circulation base for more “earned income.”
. . .
Tanya Erlach, who produced and programmed The New Yorker Festival for the past eight years, started as director of events Monday. “We think that there’s enormous amounts of money to be made on events if you’re smart enough.”
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. They have enough money for two years to pay reasonable salaries for the best journalists they could find.

The business principal is "do what you do best, leave the rest." The business model is "read for free (or very close to it), pay for stuff and events". It seems to be working in the music business and therefore plausible to believe it will work for many newspapers.

The good news for print and newspapers is that as more of the great journalists use this model, news-on-paper can focus on production, logistics, delivery and advertising. As 2 codes come into the mix, that will add another value. As versioned newspapers for audiences of tribes ( 20 to 150) become mainstream, non consumers will enter the market.

Writers write. Printers print. Advertisers advertise.

Added Nov 5, 9:24 am EDT : to give you an idea of the content of Texas Tribune
TexasTribune Here's your TT look at the day ahead, also known as,"The Brief":

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