Any ideas on how print publishers can make money in digital media?

Print is suffering with readers going digital. They can’t figure out a way to make money off their websites, and I’m worried for them. I like my content! Do you have any ideas on how newspapers, magazines, books and all that paper content can survive on an electronic medium from which people are used to getting things for free?

eBooks seem to be popular and selling briskly, so that’s good. And the New York Times recently unveiled their new digital subscription plan, so there are serious efforts here. But it seems experimental and they’re just hoping nothing blows up in their face.

Surely we can think up some viable business plans and help those publishers out!

People were used to getting music for free for a while there, until a bunch of smart people came up with easy ways to deliver music digitally for pay, and people (not all people) started paying for music again.

I think folks will just need to be forced to pay for content.

There are only two options. Either figure out how effective web-based advertising is, figure out how to keep it from being blocked, and charge accordingly for it, or charge for content.

At this moment, I don’t know which is the more realistic scenario.

Look at TV, writers and actors outpriced themselves and now we have “reality TV.” Sure they have writers, who are paid a lot less than drama/sticoms, but the costs are a lot less.

I’m friendly with a lot of people in the podcasting world, including someone with several podcasts consistently in the top ten on iTunes. I can tell you that as far as podcasting goes, it’s a really tough sell to advertisers. Anytime you hear ads on most podcasts, don’t believe for one second that the hosts are getting rich off of the sponsorships (unless maybe if you’re Kevin Smith or Adam Carolla). They’re barely enough to cover the bandwidth costs and usually not even that. Monetizing the content that people are used to getting for free is a really sticky issue that nobody has really figured out yet.

If their content is something people want to pay for and publishers can prevent anyone from getting that content without paying, they can make money.

In my opinion that means keeping their content out of the digital/electronic stream altogether and/or agressively pursuing the prosecution of those who infringe on their copyrights. “Fair use” as far too many people interpret it is not at all fair to those who are having their worked ripped off and reproduced without payment.

Only when when everyone realizes that copyrighted material must not be allowed to be distributed IN ANY FORM without permission of the copyright holders, and copyright laws are upheld and infringement is prosecuted, will producing content be profitable again.

If no one pays for anything, little new work of any worth will be produced.

“The media,” whether print or electronic, will not be able to pay the actual creators–the reporters, reasearchers, writers, photographers, fact checkers, artists, designers, copyeditors, etc.–unless they have income coming in from someplace.

No income=no business=no paid employees.