I was tickled this week to read the news that Google has set up shop (okay, a data centre) at an old paper mill in Finland. They paid a lot of money for the mill and much has been and will be made of this.
This purchase struck me as symbolic for another reason: paper is how we traditionally get our news (in that the new is—duh—printed on paper), yet these days more and more of our [news] media is consumed online and is discovered using—you guessed it—Google. So, as Google supersedes print journalism it also buys out from under it the very means of creating print journalism!
Whilst over at my company blog my colleague Leo has been looking at the role of journalism online, my thoughts have been provoked recently by the accusation of former journalism watchdog Steven Brill that the Huffington Post is nothing but a parasite and Peter Osnos’s assertion that
The notion that “information wants to be free” is absurd when the delivery mechanism [i.e. Google] is making a fortune and the creators [i.e. the journalists] are getting what amounts to zilch.
With regards especially to Osnos’s statement I think the news that YouTube will share revenue for downloaded content with its media partners is the first step on the road to revenue parity between content producers (and media owners) and Google.
It’ll be a long road, of that I have little doubt, but it is nice to see how journalism (and content production in general) might continue to thrive in the face of ever-decreasing margins.
Matt Rebeiro is a social media strategist for London-based company Ryan*MacMillan where he helps brands take advantage of the opportunities social media presents by planning, creating, managing and measuring social media activity that connects brands with audiences.