The print business isn't alone is trying to determine where the funds will come to finance its best work in the digital age. The television industry is watching considerable seepage of revenue and audience into online video.
At some point the business model for television breaks --- if it hasn't already in some cases, as Canadian broadcasters have asserted in recent months.
Barry Diller, one of the world's leading media moguls, suggests in Business Week that revenue for Internet television will come from cable, which will hustle into place services to avoid being supplanted.
He sees the parallel in Internet television to the arrival of cable in the 1970s, when content was needed and cable passed through fees from consumers to programmers.
Cablevision, the parent company of the newspaper/site Newsday, announced Thursday that later this year the site will stop being freely available. In its place will be a locally focused news site attached to its cable service, available to subscribers, presumably for a fee either explicitly or implicitly.
Not surprisingly, the response has been one of horror in the digital sphere.
But it's an interesting model deserving of more scrutiny in the weeks ahead, because it offers access to unique content (Newsday's local coverage) to a subscriber base with a relationship to the cable service --- rather like community television.
It has been tried before, but not as a premium. Still, the details that will emerge in the weeks ahead will be interesting to study.
Not surprisingly, as news organizations come in full force to the Internet, it has gained in credibility and popularity as a news source.
Gallup's latest poll suggests local television news remains the most popular source in the U.S., but the Internet has achieved a doubling of popularity in six years --- to 31 per cent. Television and newspapers are still just behind local TV.
The poll indicates media aren't losing much popularity as news sources, but cable and the Internet are the media gaining the most.
For months now online display advertising has been slowing. A new Borrell Associates report predicts a real stall for those depending on banner advertising. While year-over-year gains have seemed attractive and apparently conditioned to climb, Borrell goes through each medium and predicts a bitter 2009. Only broadcast TV and cable get a tiny bump in ad spending next year; other media drop and some precipitously in the U.S. Standard display advertising online will decline by 8.5 per cent, search will grow 7.3 per cent and streaming audio and video advertising will blossom some 65.2 per cent.
The overall picture: Advertising in media will decline 0.7 per cent in the year.