Mike is correct to assert that many U.S. and international newspapers are structurally impaired and should simply disband but the debate in newspapers has shifted away from print vs. digital to one focused on digital monetization. The data is what it is, newspaper websites continue to grow traffic by double digits yet the incremental increases, or more recently seen decreases, simply can’t cover the physical costs of the news gathering operation. Turns out that it’s no different in the blogosphere as well and TechCrunch’s conference revenue is not an exception, it’s the rule for all of the major professionally produce tech blog operations.
So what can those top 50 writers learn from Arrington’s business model? Well, they’d better enjoy throwing conferences. Arrington said only 10 to 20 percent of of TechCrunch’s revenue comes from normal advertising on the website, while 50 percent comes from conferences. (Yes, I know these parts don’t add up to 100 percent.)
I wrote about the 100 year flood that newspapers are facing and my conclusion, which I believe still holds, is that newspapers have to abandon their category and create something new that combines hyperlocal information services, create new advertising units, aggressively pursue syndication, and move into video as a natural compliment to text.