David Prosser: GMG gambles everything on contrary view
Wednesday 10 February 2010
Outlook Guardian Media Group's decision to sell its regional media business is yet another indication of its determination to bet the house on all things digital. It has sold a profitable group of local newspapers (albeit with profitability in decline) in order to subsidise its loss-making national newspaper division, which is obsessed with the idea of a multimedia future and, specifically, the view that charging for online content is the wrong way to proceed.
In this view, GMG is ploughing a lonely furrow. Much of the rest of the world's media – both large groups and small – are lined up in the opposite corner, working feverishly on different models for earning a buck from the hugely expensive content they produce for the internet. Rupert Murdoch, for one, describes GMG's view that content must remain free as "BS".
Being in the minority does not, of course, make you wrong. But while GMG has made a strong case for the social value of online journalism, it has yet to produce any evidence that its approach is commercially viable. On the contrary: it has invested ever more in its online vision – including huge sums on lavishly equipped multimedia facilities at a new London headquarters – doubling and tripling the size of the bet on digital.
Sooner or later, the gamble has to start paying off if this dream is not to become a nightmare. Sentimentalists will rue the sale of GMG's local papers – particularly the Manchester Evening News – because such a longstanding link with the past has now been severed.
A more hard-headed criticism is that the media group can only go on selling off the family silver in order to finance unprofitable new adventures for so long.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education are seeking a Fi...