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Save Journalism, Sell Blockbusters for 99 Cents Each

What if  — and this is really a big “what if” — what if news organizations put together divisions that worked at producing blockbuster productions that people might actually want to download via iTunes or something similar. What if you had produced a video or audio production that was so popular that 100,000 people downloaded it at 99 cents. Getting 100,000 sales would pay for one journalist.

Do 10 of these a year and you underwrite 10 journalists; do a hundred and you have full newsroom. Or produce something that sells a million downloads and you have 10 journalists.

Maybe folks in the newsroom make these productions, but my guess is it will be a pop culture division that does not do hard news. It might aim for celebrity stuff or sports oriented or perhaps business oriented or perhaps educational oriented or food oriented.

Now we have advertising that has nothing to do with news except to support it, so why not have a pop culture side that underwrites the journalism just as advertising today.

3 Responses to “Save Journalism, Sell Blockbusters for 99 Cents Each”

  1. Bryan Murley Says:

    You’re right, Len. That’s a huge “what if.” I’m not sure most journalistic operations have the creativity or the manpower to turn out these kinds of productions. Also, it’s not so clear that they would be able to charge the 99 cents. Heck, This American Life is free podcast. Why would I pay for the local paper’s lower-quality stuff compared to that?

  2. Leonard Witt Says:

    Hi Bryan:

    Yes, this happening is a long shot. But if This American Life really marketed the heck out of The Giant Pool of Money, its two producers might actually be able to sell their future work. Plus you are fully correct, no one is going to buy a dull newspaper stuff.

    The point is to make it so high quality and enticing that 99 cents will seem like a bargain and then when 100,000 customers agree that it is a bargain, you make $99,000.

    Or maybe when someone downloads a single, they can add on a great photo story or podcast about that artist. Or a whole online magazine about the artist.

  3. iJournalism? « Content Ninja’s Weblog Says:

    [...] Witt, lead blogger at the Public Journalism Network, wonders about that. “What if  — and this is really a big ‘what if’ — what if news organizations [...]

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