Google CEO Raises Further Questions Related To Online Content

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Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google believes that newspaper executives should create a “new format” for online journalism, including delivery methods that give consumers personalized content they want to read.

Drawing on the success of Google, he has called on the newspaper industry at the recent Newspaper Association of America (NAA) conference, to to create products that would entice readers to go beyond headlines listed on search-engine pages.

“We think we can build a business with you,” he said. “That is the only solution we can see.”

But it is unclear whether Schmidt wants to save news content  for the sake of saving news content, or whether in fact he wants to save news content for the sake of saving Google. Newspapers are increasing concerned that their content has become a source of revenue for Google, given the a rapidly crumbling print media model.

Some media owners, such as Rupert Murdoch, have expressed outright indignance with Google in more thorough terms. Murdoch has questioned whether Google should in fact pay to use content, rather than merely aggregating it for free. The Associated Press said it will sue to protect online versions of its content from  “misappropriation” by online news outlets.

But all this is happening at a time when the content industry is in grave danger of failing given that none of the historical business models appear to be working anymore. Consumers are becoming increasingly reluctant to pay for content, even online.

Schmidt warned the the industry about this.

“These are ultimately consumer businesses and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more.”

Even though ad markets are suffering immensely in the economic downturn, Mr. Schmidt is extremely bullish about online advertising.  It is after all, Google’s chief source of revenue. Schmidt also suggests a micro-payments model similar to iTunes, which could allow a reader to pay a few cents each for an article they want to read online.

The Inspired Economist is interested on your views as to the future of content.  We would like to collect the thoughts an opinions of our readers as free vs. subscription-based online content. And also an iTunes type model.  Would you pay a few cents to read an article?  Or would you pay $1.00 per month to read everything that a publication offers?  Send us your comments.

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