To Praise or Vilify Digital, That is the Question


Mark Thompson is the CEO of the Times Company, and Robert Thomson is the CEO of News Corporation. The Times publishes newspapers such as the New York Times, and News Corporation publishes newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal. Not only do these two men battle each other for revenue in an increasingly competitive news market, they also have very different opinions on the role of the digital media in the future of newspapers.

RELATED: What’s the Future of National Newspapers?

From The Times Company’s Point Of View

According to a recent article from USA Today contributor Michael Wolff, the Times Company seems optimistic about digital in a realistic sort of way. While Thompson talks at length about how wonderful the digital revolution has been for the spread of information, he has not as of yet, revealed a plan that will help the New York Times and other publications to achieve long-term digital success. It is estimated that digital ad revenue will overtake print ad revenue by 2022, but both sources of revenue are falling dramatically, which makes a future tied to either one less than appealing.

News Corporation’s Perspective Is Much Different

Thomson has recently shared his opinion regarding digital media publishers. Thomson considers online publishers such as Facebook and Google to be stealing intellectual property, and he is proposing a lawsuit that is designed to put a stop to it.

Thomson’s position is that Google and Facebook have forced traditional news publishers into a corner because of the tremendous audience of both social media platforms, and the pressure exerted by both companies is forcing media companies to allow the theft of headlines and news stories, just so social media can be the first to bring the public important information.

The Struggle Is Real

Not too long ago, ran a story about the failed acquisition of Digital First Media by Apollo Global Management. The significance of the deal is that its failure caused DFM’s CEO John Paton to resign, which triggered the sale of several local and regional newspapers to a series of buyers.

The problem is that Paton seemed to have a plan that would have helped to sustain some of the smaller properties owned by DFM, but his plan left with him and now some of these papers are in trouble. The theme of print publications having no plan when it comes to dealing with digital is showing to be problematic throughout the industry.

News Corporation is taking a stand against the entities it says is stealing the intellectual property from print publications and using that information to make those publications obsolete. The diverging opinions on the way print newspapers fit into the digital world by two of the most significant CEOs in the industry shows that, when it comes to handling the crushing rise of digital media, the print industry is still looking for real answers.

Are social media platforms stealing intellectual property from publishers without properly attributing or compensating them?

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