Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pay wall or not to pay wall?

According to a biting reaction by media critic Jeff Jarvis on Rupert Murdock's decision to go with the pay wall around some of his UK properties, the answer is NO. And I don't see how excluding a large part of the population — those of us who are used to getting our online news the easiest way possible, without a credit card — will help grow an audience, benefit advertisers and actually make money.
Isn't the point of the Web to expand outward, reaching people you could have never reached before? Doesn't sound like the Times and Sunday Times is seeking to do that.
If the proper way forward for this business is to generate revenue directly from the users, then it appears news will be more narrowly focused and reach a small but dedicated audience.
It is not reaching the masses, and if advertising is no longer a part of the news economy, then the masses need not be bothered.
However, I don't see the news economy changing the much. The medium will change, though. Newsreaders will still seek out what interests them and they will do so for a minimal cost — instead of a dimes-a-day subscription, they'll pay for general internet or mobile access — and advertisers will continue to crave them.
And the best news content will generate the greatest interest and hence the strongest advertising dollar.
TV commercials are almost pointless as I DVR nearly everything, even pausing sporting events, so I can skip over the ads. (I do like some movie previews on the big TV screen, much better than small laptop screen). Radio ads have long been ignored in my car, first by the button and variety, then by CDs and iPod, and now with satellite radio and its plethora of channels, mostly commercial free.
I get the radio for free with the car for now, but will I renew for a little bit a month. I'd pay for radio I think, because of the content, but I may not because I'm not in the car that much and we also have a DVD player. So it's unlikely I would pay for that.
I do not see myself offering up to pay for news, though, because it'll be somewhere for free or else it's not that important to me.
I mean, it's a paywall. That's what it's called. That sounds like a bad business model, keeping people out.
Like the inheritance tax becoming the death tax, Murdock should rename it.
Let's see....Exclusive club? Maybe, but I don't see mass readership. Restricted site? That'll keep em away. Going alone? Hmmm, sounds like a blogger. I look forward to seeing some numbers down the road.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

All a-twitter

I wasn't buying it at first, but apparently everyone else was, so now I'm on Twitter. What I like is the ability to retweet a link to a story of interest and its ability to find like-minded people.
With Facebook, you need to know them, and also you need to trust them. With Twitter, it's less personal and interest-driven.
And because the news industry is driven by topics of interest and people seek topics today more than simply reading an entire paper to see what's going on, Twitter works for people who think alike.
I like news, some politics, some sports, movies, books, and community-based happenings. But I share an interest in parenting and foods and allergies with my wife. So I'm reaching I just need time to read all this stuff.
So I'm embracing something that initially was seen by me as a simplistic marketing tool, well, really a scheme. But it is a marketing tool and a way to find those who share ideas you are interested in, and we can all learn from each other, right?
Look for me at or @stevefrye. Coming soon, getting Twitter buttons on all these blogs at our site.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tale of two polls

We had a couple strong responses to polls this past week or so, with
varying results.
Two polls on our home page that received more than 200 answers were
reactions to government action in Michigan.
First off, Gov. Jennifer Granholm proposed a meatless day, apparently
in an effort to improve healthier lifestyles. We asked if people
would participate, too.
We offered answers far from the middle, because it is kind of a fun
topic. So 'No, What's a vegetable?' received 237 votes. And 'Yes. I
never eat anything with eyes' received a mere 30 votes.
That's an 89 percent to 11 percent blowout by meateaters.
I do recognize that most people do maneuver in the middle, but this
shows how much they disliked Granholms stepping onto to the dinner
table. Work on getting jobs, Gov.
Similarly, 89 percent of 299 respondents to a question about
traveling to Mexico in light of the drug wars said they would stay
home, and a mere 32 said they were packing their bags.
On another note, a poll on the news page asked if they agreed with a
workplace ban on scented perfume, and it's a tight one. With 249
responses, 129 says 'yes, it can be too strong' and 120 says 'no, my
body is my business.'
I've postponed the scented question for a few days for the sake of
getting something fresh up, but I want to bring it back and see if we
can get to the bottom of this thing.

Timing for Tiger

Timing is the key in everything, especially answering tough questions.
So I wondered how quickly Tiger Woods decided to put together those two five-minute interviews, conducted by ESPN and the Golf Channel.
Once it became clear that there would be a vote on health care some time on Sunday, and knowing that the NCAA basketball tournament would be in full swing, I would have recommended getting his word out then.
Instead of dominating the news, Tiger Woods was second place. Instead of dominating sports news, the very apologetic but still world's best golfer was the lead story that quickly gave way to hoops action.
At least he's answering questions instead of trying to dominate the story by telling reporters and videographers what they should cover and how they should cover it.
Plus, he didn't look like he had walked out of a cult's brainwashing seminar, as he did when he read his 'statement' last month. That was pathetic.
Sunday's pair of interviews were more natural and much better to Tiger Woods' image. He was a regular guy answering some questions about some crap he had to deal with. That's fairly normal and helped push the crash and affairs into the category of old (boring) news.
I'm just disappointed that ESPN's guy didn't ask what Tiger Woods was in treatment for. Someone says, I was in treatment but now I'm out. I say, what for? (I just wanted to hear him say sex addiction, though I guess he'd say 'It was  personal' or 'For kicking ass when asked annoying questions.' Both0 answers are fine.)
On another note, CBS balked at the ask-anything-but-only-for-five-minutes. I figure they were busy with basketball and are pushing for the '60 Minutes' sit down, so I'm not buying their garbage.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Time to buy?

I've liked all the Chrysler and Dodge products I've had over the
years (Intrepid, Stratus, two Town and Country minivans and now a
Seabring as well as a family member's Jeep Grand Cherokee), but I
have to wonder:
Is this the summer to buy a Toyota Camry?
Though loyal to Chrsyler, I like to shop with my pocketbook as my
number one priority.
Just thinking about it, keeping an open mind. I've seen the start to
the sales campaign for March and it seems a tad bit underwhelming.
But if they want to get drivers back fast, they'll have to offer up
some doosie deals, and one of those might get to me to look away from
my normal path to a new car.