The online services revealed that information was, in any case, a difficult commodity to market, both by the traditional press and by the online press. This Internet intrusion revealed that the expensive analytical part of the information, deemed the most valuable by the industry and journalists, was not or no longer necessarily the most valued by consumers who went to browse from various sources. .
In an online world, information remains expensive, but must, moreover, be updated almost continuously. In contrast, going online brings distribution and storage costs close to zero. In addition to these possible savings, the arrival of online services has therefore opened up new distribution opportunities for the press, as well as new ways of producing information and offering new services. However, this arrival was also synonymous with new forms of competition in the different segments of the value chain, content aggregators and providers of online information only, "pure players" distribution with the arrival of new intermediaries such as Internet access providers (ISPs),
The Error of Free Online
If, over the past decades, the press has proceeded through a series of trials and errors vis-à-vis online information, it is, all in all, quite quickly taking the digital turn, given the internet penetration rate. In the late 1990s, most titles opened their services online. However, although the strategies of the different media outlets may have varied widely, it was almost constant that the traditional logic of their model could be easily replicated online. What was published offline could therefore be published online inexpensively; advertisers were to follow. In addition, since distribution and printing costs were gone, there was no need to charge for access to information. Now for press release submission the options have changed.
Second Wave of Digitization
Having seen the difficulty of monetizing information, the press approached the second wave of digitization and the world of applications in a much more proactive manner during the following decade. New business models are thus developed, most of the time combining different revenue streams.
These efforts have proved successful in a way, as the number of paid readers (subscriptions) is said to be increasing, according to the World Press Federation. For online information, their number increased by 208% between 2013 and 2018, which however does not prevent the paper edition from continuing to pay the bill, still providing nearly 86% of revenue. But above all, most online news sites are suffering losses, which have notably resulted in staff contractions over the past few year’s journalists holding the press card numbered 34,890 in 2018, a constant figure. The visualization of information is also a factor of great importance. It must be easily accessible to the reader and write in a way adapted to the web.
Monetization of Information
Online or offline, the monetization of information therefore remains largely problematic, and new business models unstable or even yet to be found. This is not without impact on the already strained relations between traditional players and new players especially since there would only be room for a single subscription to a paid media service, whether national, local or specialized, relying on several recent studies.
However, the success or failure of different strategies varies widely depending on the region, sector, and type of press. There is no need to go through the success stories in the online press. We should also note that the countries of Northern Europe, characterized by a strong tradition of reading and subscriptions, are pioneers for the payment of information online. In 2017, Sweden had 27% of households paying subscribers to an online information service.
The fall follows the 2008 crisis: since then, print media advertising revenues have collapsed again in 2018. The print media only collected 7% of these resources, against another 27% in 2010. To face this erosion, the profession mobilizes a set of strategies: creation of free newspapers, Sunday edition or other published products, improvement of graphic quality with the introduction of new printing processes. In the fight against falling revenues, cost reduction is another approach, leading to significant reductions in the number of journalists but also to deterioration in quality.
A Fragmented Audiovisual With Unevenly Distributed Growth
While the written press is now relegated to fourth and last as a source of information (18% of users, well behind online news sites (69%, including 42% for social networks alone), television remains in first place with 71% of these accesses.
In the space of a few decades, the markets for this medium have continued to grow, but its distribution methods have evolved considerably. From terrestrial distribution, we have switched to wired (terrestrial infrastructure), which has become dominant on a global level.
Finding and sorting out the right information among all the data that is constantly growing is proving to be particularly time consuming. "Crowdsourcing", literally "crowd sourcing" allowing communities of Internet users to value and share their knowledge is a rich source for obtaining information or verifying it, a change in journalism since it is favorable to know how to use these tools.