Welcome to the 48th episode of the Mediatwits podcast, with Mark Glaser and the Rafat Ali as co-hosts. On this show, we turn to the chaotic soap opera that continues at Yahoo, once an Internet darling on its umpteenth remake. Its new CEO Scott Thompson appears to have padded his bio with a computer science degree that he never received. An activist investor found the “mistake” and our special guest Kara Swisher of AllThingsD has been on this story all week with updates. She talks about possible successors for Thompson and also gives the skinny on the upcoming 10th edition of the D conference.
Next up is the ever lovable debate on pay walls and paid content online. When we approached Gawker honcho Nick Denton about the subject, he said, “Pay wall discussions make me want to blow my brains out.” Be that as it may, we ended up having a lively debate between Steven Brill, creator of CourtTV and American Lawyer magazine and current co-CEO of Press+, and Mike Masnick, who runs the TechDirt blog and community. Brill says that Press+ could be running metered pay walls for up to 1,000 publications by the end of the year, while Masnick says that keeping content free and sharable is the best way to stay relevant online.
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Here are some highlighted topics from the show:
0:30: Rafat prepping for launch of new startup, Skift
2:40: Comcast fights back against cord-cutters
3:30: NBC will have streams of Olympic games online, but you need to have cable, satellite subscriptions to watch
6:40: Rundown of stories on podcast
Yahoo CEO under fire
7:40: Special guest Kara Swisher
9:45: Swisher: A lot of people would have been fired at Yahoo if they did what he did
12:20: Thompson could have corrected bio many times but never did
15:20: Swisher: Vetting process was shoddy at Yahoo
17:10: Highlights for the upcoming D conference include an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook
Future of online paid content
18:50: Special guests Steven Brill and Mike Masnick
20:20: Brill: Never in history has a journalistic venture been profitable giving its content away free
22:40: Rafat: The answer is somewhere in the middle, with multiple revenue streams
24:00: Masnick: There’s a mental cost to putting up metered walls
27:10: Brill: My book would have done better if the publisher gave it away free
29:10: Masnick: TechDirt has been exceptionally profitable with membership and advertising model
32:40: Brill: Publishers have hit a wall with their business model
36:40: Brill: Google never really put enough resources into One Pass, didn’t offer bundle of print and digital subscriptions
Yahoo CEO didn’t have to get Minkowed at MarketWatch
The Newsonomics of Pricing 101 at Wired
Press+ positioning itself to target Google One Pass customers at Journalism.co.uk
Don’t forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time about your philosophy on paid content:
Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+