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Who Should Pay for Online News?

Reading news topics online is one of the easiest ways to stay up to date with current events. Many news stations and channels post their news online in addition to broadcasting it on the television, making news accessible to people who have internet access, but cannot watch the television. Also, online news allows people to decide what aspect they want to read up on, out of the broad spectrum of news stories. But online news is not posted as some charitable action by the news company.

It is another way for a news organization to make money by presenting its stories to the public. Online news should be paid for by advertisements, because not only do advertisements provide a source of income for the news company, but they allow use the public to pay for their news, as advertisers seek to reach the public. Mostly, online news sources, as with news stations that broadcast on television, are able to make money by charging revenues to companies that advertise on their pages.

Links are often posted along the sides of pages on online news websites, and the companies that advertise are able to pay for the page space they rent because the products they sell are viewed by people who click the links, which makes money for the advertising corporations. This is one of the ways that online news companies should be compensated. They should not go too far, and try to make too much money by having advertisements all over the news sites, but a couple of advertisements on online news pages are alright.

The main reason that online pages exist is to give people jobs who work for the news company, as the news company provides news to the public. So in a sense, the public pays for online news if news organizations rent space for advertisement space to companies, because the public buys from the advertisers, who reach the public by posting advertisements on the sites that provide news to the public. “Anyone following the debate about whether newspapers should make people pay for the news they read online could be forgiven for thinking they woke up in 1999,” Tiffany Wu wrote for pcmag. com in 2008.

“The argument, which most newspapers discarded a decade ago or more, is now gaining new currency because the financial condition of publishers in the United States and, increasingly, other parts of the world, is weak and getting weaker. ” But it does not seem that advertisements on the side of news pages is not working. It is actually working quite well. “Among them is aping the Amazon. com model. Rather than bludgeoning readers with intrusive ads that few people read or click on, newspapers could build online malls on their sites and provide local search networks for small businesses,” Wu writes.

Online news sources do not need to post many advertisements on their pages to make money. Just a few advertisements on each page will continue to work. Not every person who reads the news will read, or even notice the advertisements on the side of news pages, and not every person that does notice, and read the advertisements will buy the products advertised, but that when people do buy whatever products are advertised, the advertiser more than makes up for the price paid for the advertisement space.

It works just like television. On TV, advertisers pay for a fifteen or thirty seconds of commercial space. This money goes to television network, and the price for advertising time goes up with the expected amount of people watching whatever program the advertisements occur during. So for the advertisers to make money after buying expensive commercial time from a television channel, they need their commercial to make them more money than the advertisement time cost them.

So, if a car company pays $50,000 dollars for a thirty second advertisement, buying the advertisement time would only be worth it to the company if people buy significantly more than $50,000 dollars worth of cars because of their viewing that advertisement. That is how radio works, and how online news has traditionally been sponsored, and how it should continue to work. The public ultimately pays for the online news, because advertisers are paid by the public’s purchasing the products that they advertise to the public on online news websites.

News companies should not directly charge the public for online news unless advertising is simply not working. And if it is not working, then a few more advertisements on each page should make the news source enough money to profit from posting news. “Rupert Murdoch, whose media company News Corp owns one of the few U. S. newspapers that makes people pay to read its news on the Web, said more papers will have to start doing the same to survive,” Yinka Adegoke wrote for reuters. com in her article entitled Murdoch says papers should charge on Web.

“Murdoch, who bought The Wall Street Journal and its parent company Dow Jones & Co in 2007, said online advertising, which most U. S. publishers hope will offset ad revenue declines at their print divisions, will not cover their costs,” Adegoke continues. But charging the public directly for online news does not seem like a reasonable alternative to charging advertisers, when allowing advertising on news sites comes up short. It certainly seems like that would only cause less people to read online news stories.

Advertisers will likely still advertise on popular news sites (which would not be nearly as popular if every reader was charged to read the news), so charging a little more for advertisement space seems like it is better than charging people who want to read the news directly. “Murdoch’s newspaper empire includes the New York Post, the Times of London and other papers in Britain and Australia, which are available online for free. The Journal had been charging for access for years before News Corp bought it,” Adegoke explains.

“His comments come as the Times holds a semi-public debate about whether it should revisit charging readers to get some or all of its news and commentary online. It canceled an earlier experiment, ‘TimesSelect,’ to charge for columnists and similar content because it made more money from ads. ” So if charging the public indirectly, as the public pays the advertisers (by purchasing products) who pay the news sites works, why stray from this successful method of making money while providing the people with news?

News companies should continue to work through the tough economic times as they have been, because charging people will only make popularity and page views decrease. “Even as they cut costs, publishers are looking for ways to get more people to read — and pay for — journalism,” Adegoke writes, skeptically, as it does not seem that more people will be reading the news from online sources if they have to pay for it directly. It seems pretty straightforward that the best way for news publications to make money as they post news online is to charge advertisers, who will rent advertisement space.

The money ultimately does come from the public, but charging people directly for their news is another way to charge the public that will certainly make news websites much less popular. Works Cited Adegoke, Yinka. Reuters. com. Murdoch says papers should charge on Web. 3 April 2009. Accessed 23 April 2009. http://www. reuters. com/article/businessNews/idUSTRE53201I20090403? pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0 Wu, Tiffany. Pcmag. com. Who Should Pay for Online News? 2008. Accessed 23 April 2009. http://www. pcmag. com/article2/0,2817,2343139,00. asp#

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