Mediatwits #48: Yahoo CEO Under Fire; Pros and Cons of Metered Pay Walls

    by Mark Glaser
    May 11, 2012
    Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson is experiencing what AllThingsD's Kara Swisher calls a "resumess" over a computer science degree in his bio that he never got

    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.

    "A lot of people at Yahoo would have been fired immediately for [what CEO Scott Thompson did], so it's unusual that they haven't even censured him for the mistake." -Kara Swisher

    Check it out!



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    Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio’s Music Alley.

    Here are some highlighted topics from the show:

    i-50b9a947a7eef596e4c41c2cdc71c17b-Kara Swisher cool.jpg

    Kara Swisher


    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


    Steven Brill

    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

    i-ba883d66f8faf66a6cd17427ca326642-mike masnick hands.jpg

    Mike Masnick

    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

    More Reading

    7 ways Comcast is killing the cable killers at GigaOm

    NBC Will Stream The London Olympics Live — But Only To TV Subscribers at NPR

    Not So Scott Free? Yahoo’s Other Big Shareholder — Cap Re — Leaning Toward Supporting Loeb Over Thompson ResuMess at AllThingsD

    They Shoot Yahoo CEOs, Don’t They? But Not Without a Really Smoking Gun and a Much Stronger Board at AllThingsD

    Yahoo CEO didn’t have to get Minkowed at MarketWatch

    The Newsonomics of Pricing 101 at Wired

    Why It’s a Bad Idea for Student Press to Fall in Love with Pay Walls at MediaShift

    Press+ positioning itself to target Google One Pass customers at Journalism.co.uk

    Ongo, an attempt at a pan-media paywalled aggregator, is closing at Nieman Lab

    The Great Debate on Micropayments and Paid Content, Part 1 at MediaShift

    Weekly Poll

    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+

    Tagged: allthingsd d conference google kara swisher metered wall mike masnick pay walls press+ resume resumess scott thompson steven brill techdirt yahoo

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