There is an African proverb that says: "Two men in a burning house must not stop to argue."
The media business, and especially the News Media business is going through tough times. It's being hit from the left by a stubborn recession and on the right by massive waves of new technologies.
But on Tuesday, two top dogs of the news media business faced off in key note addresses in Washington. Speaking at a conference in Washington, Rupert Murdoch, the News Corporation chairman urged publishers to ‘stop giving their content away for free’, while the woman behind one of the largest aggregator sites in the world, Arianna Huffington, hit back at his "ridiculous notion". Brand Republic reported that Huffington dismissed Murdoch’s posturing around Google’s role in disseminated "expensive journalism" for free, by noting that any site can shut down the indexing of its content by the search engine any time it wants with a simple "disallow" in its robots. "But be careful what you wish for," she warned. "Because as soon as you do that, and start denying your content to other sites that aggregate and link back to the original source, you stand to lose a large part of your traffic overnight." Huffington also echoed the views of many paywall dissenters by questioning how any protectionist publisher intended to stop others writing about the news they had decided to ring-fence? Huffington went on to say that new web saavy brands: "...understand that the web is not a zero-sum game and that consumers love the freedom to be able to follow where their interests - and the offshoots of a story - take them," she said. I wonder whether this isn't an opportunity for brands to build their own media platforms around their cultures, consumers and interests. Could be cool. More on the media tussle here.
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drb62/2054107736/