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Old 03-01-2009, 10:35 PM   #1
dreams
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How Electronic Readers Could Save Newspapers

Sunday, March 01, 2009 3:35 PM PST
I found an interesting article in PC... BizFeed

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscente...ml?tk=rss_news

A couple of quotes from the post.

"Here's something I'd like to toss into the hat for the economic stimulus program: Let's provide a subsidy to help newspapers and other publishers transition from paper-based to electronic distribution. The fate of American journalism is too important to be left to chance, but its very nature precludes it from lobbying much on its own behalf."

........

"How might this work?

Washington would give every American taxpayer an amount of money that could only be spent on newspapers and magazines delivered electronically. The amount might be keyed to the amount of taxes paid, but it needs to be in a form that is immediately spendable, such as an online voucher.

You could also use the money for a Kindle or a next-generation newspaper reader such as the one Hearst is proposing. Maybe even for a laptop, though that is probably a stretch."
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:16 PM   #2
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreams View Post
Washington would give every American taxpayer an amount of money that could only be spent on newspapers and magazines delivered electronically. The amount might be keyed to the amount of taxes paid, but it needs to be in a form that is immediately spendable, such as an online voucher.

You could also use the money for a Kindle or a next-generation newspaper reader such as the one Hearst is proposing. Maybe even for a laptop, though that is probably a stretch."
I think a better method would be having Washington subsidize the e-news readers given out (or sold at very low prices, or as part of a subscription) by the newspapers. This prevents giving money to taxpayers who simply won't use it (because they don't read newspapers) or don't need it (because they already have a reader).

There is, of course, another way: Let the newspapers pay for the readers themselves, in much the same way as cellphone companies do it: Sell you a basic reader at a low cost, the cost being folded into the subscription (contract). If you want a fancier reader, you can always buy it yourself, or if you get it through the newspaper, they will renew your contract for it and fold the cost in again.

Will newspapers want to do this? Not really. But it wouldn't be impossible for them, and the government might even be able to give them some... encouragement. (Like charging the newspapers more for the paper they use, the transportation costs, etc, and making it "worth their while" to go digital.)
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Washington would give every American taxpayer an amount of money that could only be spent on newspapers and magazines delivered electronically.
Boy, it is hard to be a libertarian these days. I find that completely absurd.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:21 PM   #5
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From the article:

Quote:
There is already an immediate precedent for helping media companies make the jump from analog to digital technology--all those $40 digital TV converter box vouchers that have been issued. Why shouldn't paper publishing likewise get some assistance through a technology transition?
Not a great analogy, really: The Fed mandated the transition to digital for their own benefit, allowing them to re-parse the airwaves and make more money off of more licenses. The TV industry was largely pulled along, kicking and screaming, very few networks will actually profit from the transition.

In the case of switching publishing to network-based access, the Fed will not profit from such a venture, and unless the Fed decides it wants to take an active role in the cutting back of paper production, and the resultant environmental damage created by the industry, it otherwise has no good reason to authorize such a switch. (Mind you, improving the environment is a pretty good reason in itself.)

It could be couched in the new administration's desire to improve nationwide network access, but again, only profitable if the Fed gets a cut from those ISP network access fees.
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