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Free News Unsustainable, Says Warren Buffett 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the there-ain't-no-such-thing-as-a-free-article dept.
Koreantoast writes "Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway recently purchased 63 newspapers and plans to purchase more over the next few years, noted during an interview that the current free content model is unsustainable and will likely continue pushing toward more electronic subscription models. This coincides with moves by other newspaper companies like Gannett and the New York Times, which are also erecting paywall systems. Buffett notes that newspapers focusing on local content will have a unique product, which would succeed even if they lose subscribers, because their services are irreplaceable. Is this the beginning of the end of 'free content' for local news?"
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Free News Unsustainable, Says Warren Buffett

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  • The End of Free? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:31PM (#40114103)

    Maybe, but if it's good local news (well researched and useful to me), I'm willing to pay reasonably for it.

    • by dintech (998802) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:38PM (#40114201)

      One of the oldest local newspapers in London, the Evening Standard [wikipedia.org] used to be 50 pence and is now free. It's online content isn't behind a paywall either. They still seem to be doing ok so it can work out in some cases.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Mikkeles (698461)

        Even better; but I wonder how long advertising can sustain such an effort. I've also found that many of the free papers are totally irrelevant wrt newsworthiness due to being just a collection of syndicated items.

        • Re:The End of Free? (Score:5, Informative)

          by sortius_nod (1080919) on Friday May 25, 2012 @06:12PM (#40114647) Homepage

          As someone who has worked for a newspaper/online news org, I've seen the profit/loss statements, & subscriptions/sales don't even rate on it.

          Newspapers make the lion's share of their revenue purely from advertising contracts. Some may see this as an outdated business model due to the prices charged for advertising space (upwards of AU$100k per full page), but it's is how they've made money in the past. The main hurdle with going online is that no one is going to pay you the same rates for banner ads. Paywalling has its own problems too: Murdoch paywalls are easily bypassed, others drive consumers away due to no free content.

          I really don't see any answer other than accepting the fact there's not massive amounts of money in news media these days.

          Personally, I tend to read independent online publications such as New Matilda, Conversation AU, & Independent Australia, (yes, I'm an Aussie) which rely on donations & small amounts of advertising revenue. The level of journalism is actually higher than that of news sites subsidised by their print or TV media.

          • ...New Matilda, Conversation AU, & Independent Australia...

            Thank you. I was not aware of any of these.

            I found New Matilda [newmatilda.com] and Independent Australia [independentaustralia.net] but would like to confirm I have the correct site for Conversation AU [theconversation.edu.au].

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          When the Evening Standard was sold for a price, it was a failing paper and was loss-making. Now it is a free-sheet (and under new ownership) it is popular and profitable.

          I don't read the Standard as I don't live in London, but it's owned by the same proprietor as The Independent- one of the few genuinely quality daily nationals.

        • by dintech (998802)

          I worry that we are heading to a real-time wikipedia of truthiness that is driven by rumour and here-say.

          News outlets on occasion provided us with a reasoned and measured interpretation of events, albeit interspersed with whatever political dogma was pertinent to the writer, editor and paymasters respectively.

          Now the the first "frosty piss" on twitter is rebroadcast, amplified and contorted until it's a hideous warping of one singular and imperfect being's interpretation of events. I thInk we should all lam

      • The Evening Standard is fine if your idea of news is is mostly celebrities and sports. If people didn't grab it to read on the train going home after work, they'd likely go under.

      • But the quality has dropped. It's news for hire now.

    • Re:The End of Free? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pepty (1976012) on Friday May 25, 2012 @06:12PM (#40114659)
      And if it's bad local news, someone else is willing to pay for you to see it. The San Diego Union Tribune was recently bought by a real estate developer. Mostly because it was so cheap he could turn a profit just by selling the land the paper owned, but he also said pretty bluntly that he did it so he could use the paper as a megaphone to promote his own local real estate development plans and political views.
  • hardly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:31PM (#40114115)

    Why would anyone pay to be lied to

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by reallocate (142797)

      ...when so many people are happy to do it for free.

    • by bitt3n (941736)

      Why would anyone pay to be lied to

      clearly your hookers are less sarcastic than mine

    • Why would anyone pay to be lied to

      How else are you going to find out what's in your kitchen that could be killing you?!

    • Why would anyone pay to be lied to

      Because the truth is unpleasant. As cliche as the saying goes, it is true: People can't handle the truth.

      • Why would anyone pay to be lied to

        Because the truth is unpleasant. As cliche as the saying goes, it is true: People can't handle the truth.

        It's true. Sometimes I think they're going to come after me with pitchforks.

    • by Mandrel (765308)

      Why would anyone pay to be lied to

      Most of the lying isn't in the articles, it's in the ads. Particularly lying by omission, which is the sine qua non of advertising.

  • He doesn't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:36PM (#40114173) Homepage

    I'd wager a lot of the price of media companies now reflects their control, not their profitability. Sure, making money by selling news is great, but the power to set society's agenda, and frame events for the history books, is infinitely more valuable.

    If you think of that as the raison d' etre of the big media companies, it becomes obvious why they offer "news" free on the internet. Also, that Buffet will pay a premium for these shares...

    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      In my country there are a lot of newspapers, like everywhere else. Almost all of them lose money. I can give you two examples on both extremes:

      There's a piece of toilet paper called "Correio da Manhã" (Morning Mail) which is a huge commercial success. 1 quarter is ass-kissing the government, the other is filled with sensationalist news about murders and robberies, the other is about sports, and the last is celebrity gossip + tits n'ass. It appeals to the uneducated masses and exploits the lowest f

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        And to control educated minds you have to spend a huge lot of money.

        or, you know, run an ad network masquerading as a forum masquerading as a blog

  • by mspohr (589790) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:38PM (#40114195)

    Guy buys a lot of newspapers and now is discovering that he can't make money with them?
    He doesn't think they have a viable business model?

    • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:51PM (#40114371) Homepage

      Well he hasn't made money for a bit to be honest, and has made some seriously bad blue-chip gambles that fell flat on their face too. Which has a lot of people wondering if he's simply hit the senile point and he's out of touch with the markets. I remember reading hmm was it zerohedge or somewhere else, that he hasn't made money in over 3 years on any investments he's done.

      • by osu-neko (2604)

        Well he hasn't made money for a bit to be honest, and has made some seriously bad blue-chip gambles that fell flat on their face too. Which has a lot of people wondering if he's simply hit the senile point and he's out of touch with the markets. I remember reading hmm was it zerohedge or somewhere else, that he hasn't made money in over 3 years on any investments he's done.

        If your time-horizon is three years, you're not even playing the same game as Mr. Buffet. And you're far less likely to make money at whatever it is you are doing...

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          If your time-horizon is three years, you're not even playing the same game as Mr. Buffet. And you're far less likely to make money at whatever it is you are doing...

          Right. I play in currencies, which unlike stocks is by far riskier and has a much nastier bite, requiring you to understand not only companies, but government policy and how it will effect your trading. But make less money? No, hardly that. The riskier the game, the higher the payoff. And it doesn't get riskier than the currency market.

          • by dnaumov (453672)

            If your time-horizon is three years, you're not even playing the same game as Mr. Buffet. And you're far less likely to make money at whatever it is you are doing...

            Right. I play in currencies, which unlike stocks is by far riskier and has a much nastier bite, requiring you to understand not only companies, but government policy and how it will effect your trading. But make less money? No, hardly that. The riskier the game, the higher the payoff. And it doesn't get riskier than the currency market.

            Except its not. Higher risk does not automatically guarantee higher payoff.

            • by Mashiki (184564)

              Except its not. Higher risk does not automatically guarantee higher payoff.

              Of course it doesn't. Though it usually does, and one doesn't get anywhere without taking risks. The reality is traditional media as it stands isn't a risk, or even a worthwhile risk. It's a poor risk with no ROI, the deadtree form of media is just that dead. The electronic form of media is and quickly been subverted by free media, and a round of large aggregate services.

              The smaller papers which have gone to paywalls have quickly killed any viewership unless they have very unique content which is being

      • by rgbrenner (317308)

        Past 3 years you say? Hmm... I seem to remember something about a recession... maybe starting in 2008.

        Nah.. that can't be right.. Buffett probably is just senile.

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Yeah I mean it's not like other people haven't made money or anything. Making money when the economy is on the downturn is the easy part. It's keeping it when it's booming that's the hard part.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, he's buying papers which he thinks has a local monopoly.
      that's pretty much his "safe bet" in this. charging for local gov. bulletins and soccer practice timetables. if you give those for free on your net edition, why would the locals bother subscribing?-)

    • No, he thinks that they are under-valued and have the potential of making money in the future . . . if the free news model disappears, and the pay-walled model becomes the norm and profitable.

      If that actually will come to be in the future . . . is quite debatable.

      So anyway, he bought them because he thinks he can give them a better business model.

    • No. It's more like "Guy thinks he can forsee a sea-change in the way an industry works, buys up some of the industry, and then makes announcements about how the industry will change, possible encouraging the very change he's speculating on by virtue of his reputation."

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      If you analysis model is, "Warren Buffett should be smarter than this," you should think harder about it. I'm not saying he never makes a mistake, but he's a pretty smart investor.

      For example, an alternative model is, "Warren Buffett sees a solution to the problems of print media. First, he invests in underpriced, struggling print media organizations. Then, he comes out saying that their old model is bad business. Finally, he introduces a new, more profitable model."

      Warren Buffett's no idiot. Everyone clear

      • Or he thinks that their value in shaping opinion will increase his profit in other areas enough to make up for his losses in owning them, but he needs to make people think that he is expecting to make a profit from the news business (rather than planning to use the news business to make a profit elsewhere).
  • Online or offline? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by war4peace (1628283) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:43PM (#40114265)

    I'd venture to differentiate between online news and offline news. A paper magazine, sure, I'd pay for it more than the paper it's written on if I consider it a collectible. But online... I'm more interested in the hard data itself rather than the way it's written, and with all the portals publishing user-generated content (and some of those are REALLY good), I am not afraid of lacking any news sources any time soon.
    So what if I won't get informed about Justin Bieber's latest deeds right now? Some blog would republish the news in some way or another, if it's important enough, and Google's your friend. And of course, there's always Slashdot. As a matter of fact, I'm regularly visiting just Slashdot, Wikipedia, Wimp, Failblog and a couple local news sites (which are both awesome). Everything else can go to hell, as far as I'm concerned, and if any of the above go to hell themselves, well, I'll look for the next best thing.

  • by SeanDS (1039000) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:44PM (#40114279) Homepage
    ...which is funded by the British licence fee. As long as the current BBC-hating government don't cripple the corporation beyond repair.
  • Grassroots reform (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tommy Bologna (2431404) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:44PM (#40114281)
    Local news coverage is abysmal in most American towns. Subscription support would at least allow them to hire a handful of professional reporters, and might even breathe life back into the field of journalism. God knows we need better journalists at all levels. Rebooting the minor leagues might eventually benefit us by trickling up to the national level too -- but let's not get ahead of ourselves. I would be ecstatic if Philadelphia had some quality reporting instead of the wasteland of fluffy features and regurgitated national news service stories.
  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:48PM (#40114331)

    "Free" is increasingly becoming the new thing; free-to-play models are starting to rise and succeed in video games, free steaming tv shows and other video are becoming increasingly popular, and naturally there are companies that operate in a way someone-like Google does. How many android/iPhone apps are free? And then we see various music services cropping up that allow free streaming music..

    Why would the news be different from this trend? It's harder and harder to prevent the dissemination and replication of information
    (pirating etc) and companies are finding creative new ways to still make money even in light of that. And the news is subject to the same problem; a paywall is not a big deal if one person has a subscription and can pass the text of the article around elsewhere.

    All it takes is for one competitor to shit in the pot and go free or next-to-free to ruin the market for everyone else; I don't see pay-for news being a viable or stable strategy in the long-term.

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      How are reporters going to be paid? Do you think they will work for free?

      • by AdamJS (2466928)

        There are already applications that write better news articles than the average Times or Guardian piece.

    • by tftp (111690)

      Newspapers are a modern equivalent of buggy whips. Their business is based around limited availability of information - and on explaining the information to a minimally educated person.

      Today you can get your news directly from news agencies of all countries in the world. Cost of each short piece of news is nearly zero. Some news are produced on taxpayer's dime (NASA and other government entities; BBC.) Other news sources are financed by governments to disseminate the information about the country.

      Not e

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:49PM (#40114343) Journal
    Anyone else see the irony here?
  • Buffett's right, of course. No business can survive without making a profit. I am skeptical, however, that local news is going to save the day. Why? Because people are not as interested as they say they are in local news. My local daily paper publishes a weekly section targeting my suburb. I don't see much news in it, but I do see a lot stories about clubs, schools, kids, and churches, I once had the chance to ask the editor why they went with that rather than hard news about town government, politics, etc. The answer: We print the stories that sell newspapers. The local news market is not a hard news market. It's a feel-good gossip market.

    When a newspaper shrinks and fires newsroom staff, news production in that market drops and is not replaced by online sources. We are all more ignorant as the result, and it's an ignorance that's spreading.

    • Well, that's your experience. Around here we had a small TV channel create a local news program that talked exclusively about the government, and politics. One day it did go to a public hospital, and interview the governor (we don't have a mayor here) asking why it is so bad, the other it was asking the transportation people when a hole in a street would be fixed... That kind of thing.

      In the end, they made so well that all the other news had to adapt. Some channels even stopped doing news because they could

  • When the quality of newspapers has been going down, and the shear quantity of news is going up, I fail to see how newspapers are going to be able to compete.

    Compare a guy who is willing to post news to his blog and get the generated ad-revenue to a newspaper, who has a reporter, editor and all the other associated overhead of a newspaper I would say no contest.

    If newspapers did good reporting, they may have a shot, but right now I don't see that happening.

    • by hendridm (302246)

      Furthermore, I'm sick and tired of subscribing to things. Sure, maybe it's only $2 a month for your favorite local news. And it's $5 a month for your favorite game. Netflix is $8 per month. Flikr is $2 per month. Hulu Plus is $8 per month, but soon they want to require that you have a cable TV subscription, so that will be another $50 per month or whatever.

      This shit really adds up! If I'm paying all this money, I sure as SHIT better not see one god damn commercial or product interruption. Oh wait, they alre

      • Just stop paying for a few months. See if you miss it. Go out more or read more books (yes they cost $ but not a subscription) or play board games or???

  • by Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:56PM (#40114439)
    Shouldn't that be "Free and Accurate News Unsustainable"?
  • This just in: having someone collect facts, check them, and then present them takes time and money. Free news was never sustainable, it's just that until recently it wasn't attainable. News will always have a price, be it paying for your paper or having someone else pay for it by inserting ads. Unfortunately advertisers are discovering that online advertising doesn't work, so we'll probably have to settle on the former.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday May 25, 2012 @06:00PM (#40114477)

    The vast majority of "news" is reprocessed news hey pulled off the news wire. If the newspapers do investigative reporting and generate unique content that people actually want to see they won't have a problem. If they have interesting or knowledgable people that contribute or comment on the news they can probably build a business model on that. If all they're doing is reading internet news and then republishing it as their own then that isn't going to work.

    Is free news really not sustainable? I don't know if even that is true. Companies especially local businesses are DESPERATE for relevant advertising options. Absolutely desperate. Radio, newspapers, park benches... anything. And that has always been a big part of newspaper revenue. When newspapers started they were little more then glorified classified ads. Maybe one or two pages of local news followed by forty pages of classifieds.

    And yet crag's list exists. Why is that? How could Crag's list have a viable business in cities with major newspapers? Because they offered a better classified ad. And that sort of thing is evident throughout the newspaper business. They're generally bad at the internet. Even their ipad apps are bad. Seen the new york times app? Horrible. When most people bring up a news paper app they want it to be the actual newspaper and not what is basically a webpage configured roughly into the shape of a newspaper. It would be really easy to do this. Hell, you could literally scan the pages vertabim jewelry ads and all into the system. A lot of people would prefer it that way... especially those willing to pay for an online new york times subscription.

    Anyway, Buffet just bought 63 news papers across the country. So we'll see how he does but I'm predicting epic failure. This is sort of like the time Bill Gates tried to reform American public schools and found so many useless dicks in the system that he figured it would be more practical to cure Malaria in Africa.

    Have fun with the newspapers Warren... at the very least then you can say it was entertaining.

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Companies especially local businesses are DESPERATE for relevant advertising options. Absolutely desperate. Radio, newspapers, park benches... anything.

      True to an extent, but if you have a cute local restaurant you're not going to want to put an ad for it right next to a write-up of a recent child murder. Around here, that kind of advertising goes into the weekly papers, along with the live music listings and the coupons for discount spa treatments. None of that stuff is underwriting the actual news reporting.

      • Well, if your classifies page is crap then someone is going to do it better. A lot of the free papers... totally free papers have no news in them at all. They're just ads and classifies... and sometimes real estate stuff.

        Every single ad dollar that went into those papers is a dollar the big main paper didn't get. Possibly the big paper could publish both and publish them separately. That way you can fund your unprofitable news charity with real business dollars from the ads.

        Whatever... the reality is that t

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          Maybe this means you have to increase the ratio of ads to news? So what...

          Believe it or not, there are laws about that, at least if you plan to sell your product through the U.S. Post.

          • There are newspapers that are 100 percent ads... so I don't see how there is a law about this... if there is there shouldn't be... what right does anyone have to tell the paper how many ads they can put in it? that's just silly.

  • Yeah, free news is unsustainable, right Mr. Buffet!

    Oh, you must mean don't buy Gold because gold isn't money too eh Mr. Buffet? (As he secretly uses proxies to sell off ETF's to drop the price so he can buy _physical_ gold for low prices.)

    Or maybe Mr. Buffet really means in translation: We need to put the alternative media out of reach of the internet because too many people are connecting the dots and realize how much of a scam our government is and how the political system really works.
    (ala Rothchild she

  • Omaha World-Herald (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Friday May 25, 2012 @06:06PM (#40114575) Homepage Journal

    Buffet bailed out his local paper first. I worked there. It was "employee" owned in that you could buy stock, but the stock had to stay with the company and usually when the company got rid of people, the executives kept just awarding more and more stock to themselves. They kept paying themselves huge bonuses and talked publicly about record profits, but they maintained the profits by layoffs and pay cuts followed by more layoffs and pay cuts.

    The publisher/CEO told me that the thought the internet wouldn't affect the newspaper industry at all. It was the same as radio and TV before it.

    He also bragged about how proud he was of the newspaper's legacy of enacting change in the community via propaganda. When Nebraska was being considered for the first legal casinos outside of reservations, Atlantic City and Vegas, the World-Herald ran front page stories daily about how gambling was evil and would immediately destroy any metropolitan area it was in. So the casinos built right across the river in Iowa. Iowa has been rolling in tax revenue since then, while all the money comes from Omaha. The casinos haven't destroyed our city, but we missed out on all the tax revenue thanks to the paper. I also spoke to a reporter whose assignment was literally to slander someone running for city council in Lincoln, Nebraska as much as possible. He owned a sex toy company, which was against the morals of the paper, and they felt it was their duty to bury the guy. Oddly enough, the paper didn't have morals when it came to abusing employees and laying them off.

    The company was run exceedingly poorly. Oddly enough, most of the suggestions I made to improve the company were implemented about two years later when the newspaper was somewhat forced to embrace the digital era.

    Google News has said they'd share revenue with newspapers who feed them stories. And I specifically frequent news sites that have good writers and good view points. You can run a successful newspaper, though the physical product may eventually die out. It is a shame that Buffet is bailing out poorly run companies, because the same corrupt executives who lined their pockets as they laid everyone off just got rewarded for their behavior so it can continue some more.

  • You are paying by watching ads.

    • by hendridm (302246)

      Soon it will be like television where you pay for the service AND are forced [slashdot.org] to watch the commercials!

    • What ads? As a way of thanking me for my existence, I am eligible to enable ad-blocking software.
      • by nurb432 (527695)

        i'm not talking about people that circumvent the system.

        And some are about impossible to block. ( like the redirect pages ).

  • I get all of my news from weekly magazines: The Economist, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books. They actually report on things that are important (that is, things that I consider important), because I am paying them. Free online news exploits my psychological weaknesses to present me with ad impressions, because the advertisers are paying them. I think what Buffet is saying is that there are (at least) two different markets for news: people who want a distraction, and people who want insight

    • by Mandrel (765308)

      I get all of my news from weekly magazines: The Economist, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books.

      May I ask:

      What are the main benefits you get out of this quality journalism? Making you a better citizen/voter? Making you a better conversationalist? Making you a more moral person? Making you better understand the world so you can make better decisions (purchases and other life choices)? Making it possible to comment and impress your views on the public debate?

      And what use do you make of the ads in these quality publications?

  • You want subscription money? You're gonna deliver a product free of ads.

    • by Mandrel (765308)

      You want subscription money? You're gonna deliver a product free of ads.

      That's not going to happen with most newspapers and magazines. People won't pay extra for an ad-free experience when it's easy to ignore or block the ads. It may be another matter if unblockable animated ads start getting placed around content in publications such as tablet apps.

  • Free news is not sustainable?

    Somebody better tell CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and CNN soon. They and others have only been doing that for 90 years or so. I wonder how they pay the bills??

    Or perhaps Mr. Buffet is not in the right business.

  • "Warren Buffet proof that rick people are not smart", says Lumpy.

    Honestly, the old fart has no clue at all. there has been free news for thousands of years. I think the man needs to get a clue as to how the world works and step outside his ivory tower and see how things have been done for the past 200 years.

    free news has been king for over 50 years now. I dont pay for my TV news.

    • by doston (2372830)

      "Warren Buffet proof that rick people are not smart", says Lumpy.

      Honestly, the old fart has no clue at all. there has been free news for thousands of years. I think the man needs to get a clue as to how the world works and step outside his ivory tower and see how things have been done for the past 200 years.

      free news has been king for over 50 years now. I dont pay for my TV news.

      TV news can more accurately be described as 'infotainment' for the masses; worth-while stories are glossed over, discourse limited to 30 second sound bites, certain important topics not covered at all, human interest stories (puke). Yeah, you don't pay for TV "news". What Buffet's doing is signaling that market that pay walls are OK. Here's what I think is happening: The occupy movement has actually been quite effective at one thing and that's bringing wealth inequality into national discourse, much to

  • In other news.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:25PM (#40116107)

    Free News Unsustainable, Says Warren Buffett

    Billionaires Unsustainable, says Free News...

  • Almost without exception, newspapers started out being free and entirely ad-supported. Several small papers in my area still are.

    Of course, many newspapers moved on to a pay-per-issue model, while still containing all the advertising, if not more. That does not mean it is necessary. Clearly it is not, as the counterexamples demonstrate. It merely means they are greedy. News is a lucrative business.

    I see absolutely no reason why news cannot continue to be ad-supported. I stopped reading the New York Ti
    • I should have added:

      I don't think the recent failures have much to do with ad-supported news being non-viable, at all. I think it has had a lot more to do with poor implementations than anything else.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday May 25, 2012 @09:12PM (#40116511) Homepage

    TV news broadcasts work on the free news model, already, and it works. Ask CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. Ask your local TV stations if they will be an alternative news source to the paywalled locked local newspapers when Buffet comes buying.

  • Face it, we need at most less than 10 english language papers.

    There is no need to have 63 copies of the same AP articles and random articles about someone 1,000 miles away getting robbed or murdered.

    Plus, the news is so CLEARLY propaganda these days, that the people pushing the propaganda better pay for it, or why bother consuming it.

    There is a huge glut of news (and every other form of entertainment.) It must fall in price.

    It can do so now because instead of selling to 100,000 readers, it's selling to 1,0

  • Is this the beginning of the end of 'free content' for local news?

    No, it's the equivalent of the whining you see from the other old corporate clowns whenever a technological paradigm shift happens. It's akin to the *AA and their histrionics about home video back in the 1980s and filesharing today.

  • This many comments and no one mentions the rest of the deal? He bought the papers for about $140M. He also loaned the company he bought them from $400M at 10% annual interest. And Warren doesn't make loans like that unless the terms protect him in the event that the borrower goes bankrupt. So if the papers he bought just break even, he's still making a decent return on the overall investment.
  • The One Percent [youtube.com]

    47:45 Nicole Buffett describes her life, then gets booted from the family for good for having said not much at all. Her claim to the Buffett name was indirect, and it might not have been the first time she said more than Warren liked, but still it's hard to imagine such a cold business.

  • by bytesex (112972)

    If you can fold a device, such as a pad or an e-reader, around it. Without a physical access barrier (which obviously has to be attractive in other ways) - forget it.

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