Saving the news by exterminating parasites?

Here’s yet another article that argues that on-paper publishers should try to save their businesses by focusing on getting paid for the content that they currently are putting online.

Exterminate the Parasites
A radical plan to save old media.

The more of these arguments that I read, the more it strikes me that the people who are focusing this type of pay-for-content model are caught in a monkey trap:

Because they won’t let go of what they have in their hand, their self-imprisonment is preventing them from pursuing opportunities that could very well lead to their survival.

This passage from the article is particularly interesting (emphasis mine):

Marc Andreessen, another Internet billionaire, thinks most of the old-guard publishers will start forcing readers to pay subscription fees. But if the old companies do start charging fees, they will drive away readers. Advertisers will go where the audience is—which means they’ll spend more of their advertising dollars on the upstart sites. The new guys will start making serious money, and will be able to hire reporters and editors away from the old-guard companies to create their own original material. “That’s the thesis,” Andreessen says. It’s partly why Andreessen has recently invested in two Internet news publications—Business Insider and Talking Points Memo.

Which leads to speculation about this possible outcome:

So maybe, one day, the Huffington Post will become the equivalent of The New York Times—perhaps operated by the same writers and editors and sales reps who used to work for the Times.

This forecast is over-stating things as far as the demise of the NYTimes is concerned, but it looks like a very possible outcome for a lot of other traditional media organizations.

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