Publishers and universities.

by reestheskin on 07/10/2018

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It is easy to make facile comparisons between universities,  publishing, and the internet. But it is useful to explore the differences and similarities, even down to the mundane production of ‘content’.

This is from Frederic Filloux form the ever wonderful Monday Note

Dear Publishers, if you want my subscription dollars (or euros), here is what I expect…

The biggest mistake of news publishers is their belief that the presumed uniqueness of their content is sufficient to warrant a lifetime of customer loyalty.

The cost of news production is a justification for the price of the service; in-depth, value-added journalism is hugely expensive. I’m currently reading Bad Blood, John Carreyrou’s book about the Theranos scandal (also see Jean-Louis last week’s column about it). This investigation cost the Wall Street Journal well over a million dollars. Another example is The New York Times, which spends about $200 m a year for its newsroom. The cost structure of news operations is the may reason why tech giants will never invest in this business: the economics of producing quality journalism are incompatible with the quantitative approach used in tech which relies Key Performance Indicators or Objectives and Key Results. (

In France, marketers from the French paid-TV network Canal+ prided themselves of their subscription management: “Even death isn’t sufficient to cancel a subscription,” as one of them told me once.