Jeff Jarvis reflects that newspapers' current woes will soon come to broadcasters. His thinking is that both newspapers and TV stations are guilty of the same sin: taking advantage of an oligopoly of distribution that is now losing relevance.
Perhaps. But I wonder if there is also another force at work. As I mused at the end of my previous post, newspapers and broadcasters also share a curse: having to 'carry' or 'reproduce' all the content they offer, which means they have to own it or licence it. Of course they also get to monetise it, but sometimes that struggles to cover the costs.
The magic thing about the web is that, thanks to the link, you get to offer stuff to your users without having to carry it – and hence without having to own or licence it. Of course you don't get the upside, but you can get some money just for listing stuff, and you make your users happy and they come back. So you can cut back on content costs and only do the content that you do best (and profitably), and link to the rest (Jarvis).
It's not just that newspapers and broadcasters can't play this game. Their online properties can't do it either, because they already own tons of content (because their print/broadcast siblings need it). So they can't compete on the same terms as the new online-only guys. And if this is the new game (is it?), the old guys could be toast.
How strong is this force? I'm trying to find out. Any evidence either way would be very appreciated.