This, Balboni admits, runs entirely counter to current journalistic wisdom, which dictates that you simply can't charge for Web-based content. (Relatively recent case in point: the Times eliminating Times Select.) Still, he's certain GlobalPost can pull it off, by catering to businesspeople, NGO employees, and anyone else dependent on good information about overseas developments. "I'll make a bold prediction," he says. "More and more media organizations will have to find a way to generate subscription revenue on the Web. Because advertising isn't going to be able to do it all."
After my first conversation with Balboni and Sennott, prospects for an economic recovery grew even dimmer. So I recently asked them: had they scaled back staffing? And were they at all concerned about getting people to pay for new content — including new online content — at a time when people were turning their pockets inside out, literally or figuratively?
Try as I might, though, I couldn't get either one to sound a pessimistic note. GlobalPost's business model, Balboni replied, was a conservative one; if one of the revenue streams fell short, hopefully another would make up for it.
Sennott, for his part, mostly just seemed excited about the news potential of the ongoing financial storm. "That," he said with relish, "is a GlobalPost story." We'll soon see if he's right.
To read the "Don't Quote Me" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/medialog. Adam Reilly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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