Is Content King Online?
Ezra Klein, commenting on a new script at the online version of NYT that seems to have people up in arms, observes:
The defining fact of dead tree media is space limitation, wherein every new feature or extra article takes space away from another contender for the newsprint. That means that you have to pick stories with the broadest, rather than the most intense, appeal. The endless vistas of the internet dismantle that constraint, and allow you to create all sorts of niche content that, while only appealing to certain audience, really appeals to them. If half the energy that went into snazzy new features and interactive gizmos went into the conceptualization and creation of new, more interesting, more specific, content, the publications would be much better off.
Almost certainly true in the aggregate. Then again, there are several top blogs that seem to consist entirely of open threads and no-value-added linkage. And certainly, the social networking sites are wildly popular with people Ezra’s age despite providing essentially no content, specific or otherwise. Clearly, then, interactivity and gizmos can be big draws.
I’m just not sure how this translates to online versions of newspapers and magazines, though.