The commoditization of online news is a topic that’s been covered at length by people much more knowledgeable about the topic than me. I’m not going to rehash all their arguments here.
The punch line is that the internet has reduced the cost of distributing content to zero. For example, it wouldn’t make much sense for me to write this blog if the internet didn’t exist because I wouldn’t have a way to get it to readers. However, with the internet it’s available for everyone’s viewing at no cost to me.
As a result, there are orders of magnitude more content creators now than in the past. This explosion in content has made most content a commodity. Content creators are rarely able to charge readers for the content they produce because it’s likely available in similar form on another platform.
Until the beginning of this year, I hadn’t paid for any form of online content over the last 4 years. The last paid content I consumed was from The Economist in 2011. I stopped paying for their content because I find that similar analyses are now available for free on other platforms.
However, after a 4 year break, in the beginning of 2015 I paid for The Information. The Information covers the global technology industry and I’ve found that it offers a unique insider perspective not available on other platforms. It also offers well reasoned analysis of emerging tech business models that help me better structure my thoughts on the future of the sector. At a $600 annual fee, it’s not cheap. But I think it’s worth it.
Let’s see if the content available on The Information will also be commoditized similar to The Economist, or if it will be able to retain its subscription revenue model for a longer time.