Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Web provides opportunity, but that has a down side as well

Ezra Klein has become a brand unto himself for the many who have become followers of his Wonkblog within the Washington Post. Now, like other high profile journalists, like David Pogue (late of the New York Times) and Walter Mossberg (leaving behind The Wall Street Journal), Klein is striking out on his own--sort of--under the umbrella of Vox Media, itself a venture seeking to find fortune in the digital media realm.

Jack Shafer, who writes a column on media matters for Reuters, is largely supportive of such moves. But he felt compelled in a current column to point out the forces aligned against the success of such a venture. He points out that while financial or legal barriers had protected newspapers and broadcasters for many years from competition, Klein and his like have no such "moats."
...the Web — so elemental in making Ezra Klein a big and sudden success — is also his biggest threat. None of the wildly successful websites — not the Huffington Post, the Gawker galaxy of sites, the BuzzFeed verticals, Glam Media’s properties, nor Vox Media — can rely on a moat to protect them from new competition because 1) no regulation prevents new Web entrants, 2) thanks to Moore’s Law and more, the costs of entry keep falling, and 3) unless tethered by contracts, talent can easily become new competitors... Giantism won’t protect most websites from competition any more than it did America Online 15 years ago.
In other words, the very forces that make is so easy--and relatively cheap-- for Klein to strike out on his own means that the next smart and talented writer who comes along could quickly erode whatever audience--and revenue--that Klein--or Pogue, or Mossberg, or..? has achieved.

Does this encourage or discourage you?

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