The AlwaysOn conference today held a panel moderated by blog-star, Jeff Jarvis, called Big Media Online. Gordon McLeod, President, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network was there next to Alisa Bowen, SVP Reuters, Jeff Price, President, Sports Illustrated Digital and Caroline Liettle, CEO and publisher at the Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive.
Jeff Jarvis starts the panel by saying “I’m not sure it’s all about content. I think it’s about other things too like communication.” I agree with Jeff when he talks about what’s so special about publishing online. It’s not all about the content. It’s also about crowd sourcing, coming together to make a change, helping humanity and communication.
Innovating content is one of the hardest things for big media when competing with blogs. They need a unique perspective like citizen journalists have. However, the citizen journalists are not making enough money. Jeff Jarvis says that the perceived value of content online is close to zero.
What the big media players are finding, when putting their content online, is it’s like starting from the ground up. It’s all about getting good content, letting other networks know about it and building up an audience. Caroline of Washingtonpost talks about their content, “we are doing better than the other free sites, but what we are making isn’t enough.” The big companies coming online must leverage off of other websites. Gordon of the Wall Street Journal says, “we are not idiots. We think about buying companies all the time and there are solutions for everything so we are up for it.” Jeff Prince talks about an opportunity Sports Illistrated had three years ago to buy StubHub. They regret not buying the ticket purchasing website because StubHub would have made them a major player in a market they want to break into.
Someone from Businessweek in the audience stood up and said they would like to be seen by the audience of popular blogs. The Businessweek representative said we “should integrate TechCrunch as a part of our team.”
Jeff Jarvis pointed me out in the audience and asked me to stand up and say my website, PopSnap, and said, “this is Sarah Meyers, the future of journalism.”
Dave Winer says that news is like a river. I think feeds are great, but what is more compelling is the conversation that goes on around the feeds on micro blogs and comments. It’s clear that the big media wants to work with or acquire blogs, but is that the end all solution to the bloggers working with them? Looking into the future, is there an end solution that will bring in content from the blogs, networks and the big media?