Fishy way for the media to make dosh

Gob of the Wash is in London at the moment for the Chelsea Flower Show, so we’ve been going out to play in the evenings to take advantage of his escape from Lincolnshire.

We both have a fairly silly sense of humour, so last night we went to Leicester Square to watch Richard Herring record his podcast.

He says he started it because he wanted more creative control and liked the fact the internet was ‘do it yourself’ (in reality I reckon it’s cos he wants to swear like a trooper without getting shouted at by the TV bosses). The podcast’s free to download, but he charges a tenner to watch the recording, which covers the costs of the theatre and reportedly leaves him with a wage of about £84 for the show.

It’s an idea which interests me as a media geek and Matthew as a third of farming’s intermittent podcast troupe, Pure Tilth.

We often chat about how to make new media profitable – he tried but didn’t succeed in getting sponsorship for his audio shows, while trying to get financial backing for videos and podcasts at Farmers Weekly is something I think about a fair bit.

Compared with some of the publications within our publishing group, FW has to work harder to convince companies to get behind our online stuff. Offer advertisers space in the magazine though, and they bite our hands off.

I often wonder whether it’s because we haven’t yet hit on a format that really appeals to the imaginations of farming advertisers, or if agriculture’s a bit late to catch on, preferring the traditional, tried-and-tested methods of the past.

Anyway, while advertising doesn’t affect the way I think about tackling a story, it is something I think about. With online audiences growing and paying, print audiences (theoretically) shrinking, we have to find ways to make money out of what we do.

Personally I’d prefer to go down the sponsorship route than the way of the Times and the Sunday Times, which launch their paid-for websites any day now.

It’s been widely reported that the publications expect to lose about 90% of their readership as soon as the paywall comes in place,  something I reckon is  going to be pretty demoralising for Times hacks.

Justifying the move on Today this morning, James Harding, the Time’s editor, said it was relying on the fact people had formed online reading habits and those that religiously read their sites would fork out the dosh. Being restricted from reading an article was only like a newspaper, he added, where you can only read the headline in a newsagent’s and you have to buy the thing before you get the whole story.

I reckon it’s pretty dangerous to start thinking about the internet in the same way as print – it’s like saying books are like television. I don’t want to see the Times fail at it’s attempt to try something different, but I don’t think they’ve hit the nail on the head with this idea.

Maybe we ought to start inviting audiences into FW Towers as an alternative way to make money. Anyone want to give me a tenner to come and hang out at my desk?

my desk

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2 Responses to “Fishy way for the media to make dosh”

  1. Will Hancock

    Maybe the launch of the ipad will bring a few more internet readers!! I think that sponsorship is the way to go, I regulary follow links from fwi. I’m sure more and more farmers will be drawn to the net as its fast becoming the only place to get up to date information. We had the rep for Lely come round with brochures for a new windrowers, the only way we could get up to date information was on the web, sign of things to come!?

  2. neil ridley

    I think you should get this idea up on the threads and we can see other desks. I liked the Fullers ticket, and who are marina the diamonds?

    Rather than nufsaid I think you should be Laconic Strokes.