Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Give Us All Your Money

For a long time newspapers really didn't rely on single copy/subscription revenue. They wanted to sell copies, sure, but almost entirely so that they could sell your eyeballs to advertisers. The price of the newspaper covered distribution costs, basically, and they would have been quite happy to give them away for free if they could convince advertisers that people were actually looking at those free copies. It always bothered reporters that their product was "free" after the internet came along, though whether or not that was smart business strategy long term it wasn't an alien concept to the business side, especially as "now" they could prove to advertisers that people were actually reading their free product. Metrics!

Another way of putting this is that their "customers" were mostly Ford and Macy's, not you, and reporters didn't really have to give a shit about their readers, leaving the business to the business side of the paper.

I don't entirely know why the New York Times is the way it is. Twitter provides a window into the souls of some of their reporters and they are not pretty things. Shitting on your core customers and then yelling at them for not wanting to buy more shit is a strange business model. Twitter's New York Times defense force, both Times people and other reporters kissing up, is always hilarious.