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(Sydney Morning Herald)   Warren Buffet hates Fark.com   (smh.com.au) divider line 77
    More: Asinine, Warren Buffett, Evercore Partners, interest-only loan, economic values, MediaNews Group, Berkshire Hathaway, Leo Hindery, World-Herald  
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9197 clicks; posted to Business » on 25 May 2012 at 1:58 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-25 10:31:36 AM  
Advertising doesn't work? That sucks.

/Still not going to pay for cnn.com wankfest
 
2012-05-25 10:39:22 AM  
He'll get over it.
 
2012-05-25 10:39:50 AM  
Free ANYTHING is unsustainable.
But we're reaching the point where people would rather do without than pay.
 
2012-05-25 10:41:28 AM  
Actually, traditional print news publications are dying not just because of reduced advertising but free classified ads. Craigslist and the like have more to do with the demise than online news. Toss in eBay and people can get what they want for a price they want.
 
2012-05-25 10:50:48 AM  
A: Fark has journalists?

B: I'm not paying?

C: Fark.com is news?
 
2012-05-25 11:03:40 AM  
You can die now. No really, it's time. Go into the light.
 
2012-05-25 11:22:08 AM  
Wait...you can get fark for free?
 
2012-05-25 11:29:26 AM  

bdub77: Wait...you can get fark for free?


i know, i'm paying $50/year for this stuff.
 
2012-05-25 11:42:23 AM  
More importantly, how does he feel about those cans?
 
2012-05-25 11:58:19 AM  

ShawnDoc: More importantly, how does he feel about those cans?


www.gsp.org

Hates em
 
2012-05-25 01:25:49 PM  
Oh shut up Buffet and go back to Margaritaville.

/yes, I know
 
2012-05-25 02:06:53 PM  
Free news has been available on TV and Radio for many years.
 
2012-05-25 02:09:36 PM  

Rev. Skarekroe: Free ANYTHING is unsustainable.
But we're reaching the point where people would rather do without than pay.


Let the people decide with their wallets. If people aren't willing to pay, then clearly they don't want it. This should be enshrined as some sort of political and economic view. I dunno what to call it, but I like the Washington Capitals so maybe "Ovechkin-ism"?
 
2012-05-25 02:09:39 PM  
Saying Fark is tied to the fortunes of free news content is like saying MST3K is tied to the fortunes of bad movies. The world will always have blog posts to make fun of and people getting their nuts stuck in a chair.
 
2012-05-25 02:11:19 PM  

talulahgosh: bdub77: Wait...you can get fark for free?

i know, i'm paying $50/year for this stuff.


Is that for ULTRA Fark? Total Fark is $60 a year.

/all the cool kids are in ULTRA, I hear
//sigh
 
2012-05-25 02:12:09 PM  
I'd pay for news, I won't pay for "news".
 
2012-05-25 02:12:19 PM  

GoodyearPimp: I dunno what to call it, but I like the Washington Capitals so maybe "Ovechkin-ism"?


So you are saying it will start out promising, and then falter while turning you into a douche?

/ Caps fan
// #8 needs to be traded
/// Wish Hunter had stayed
 
2012-05-25 02:12:40 PM  

MugzyBrown: Free news has been available on TV and Radio for many years.


They've figured out how to continue operating with fewer people. The people who weren't going to be around forever have left broadcasting (hi there!), or are living off the dole for public stations. The folks writing for the birdcage liners don't get it.
 
2012-05-25 02:16:28 PM  

CheatCommando: So you are saying it will start out promising, and then falter while turning you into a douche?


No idea as I'm not really a hockey fan, but I grabbed the lowest hanging fruit to get to my lousy joke.
 
2012-05-25 02:18:24 PM  
Giving away shiat for free is unsustainable? Maybe Warren should pass that tidbit along to his best buddy Barrack.
 
2012-05-25 02:26:38 PM  
Too bad there's an internet, then, Herr Buffet. Because regardless of what anyone wants or thinks, as long as there's an internet around, anything that CAN be reduced to a series of 1's and 0's will be, and will be redistributed for free.

It may not be legal (it's not), and it may not be right (most of the time it's not), but it's going to happen regardless, and short of killing the entirety of the internet, there's nothing you can do to stop it.
 
2012-05-25 02:29:59 PM  
Um guys? I know this is Fark, but did anyone actually RTFA? He is buying local newspapers with the intent of focusing on what local papers can do that no one else can, which is LOCAL news. Prime, amazing, mockable local news!

This guy is insuring that Fark will have material for generations to come!
 
2012-05-25 02:35:13 PM  
This is not a revelation. Here's something that the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said years ago.

You don't see Apple giving away its iPads to everyone to get more people to buy iPads.

When the news is free
by Walter E. Hussman, Jr.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us." This quote is appropriately attributed to the newspaper comic strip character Pogo.

One has to wonder how many of the newspaper industry's current problems are self-inflicted.

One of newspapers' major problems is free news. News has become ubiquitous, free, and as a result, a commodity. Anytime you are trying to sell something that becomes a commodity, you have lost much of the value in providing that product or service.

Not many years ago if someone wanted to find out about what was in the newspaper, they had to buy one. But not anymore. Now you can just go to the newspaper's website and get that same information for free.

The newspaper industry wonders why they are losing young readers. Those readers might be young, but many of them are smart. Why would they buy a newspaper when they can get the same information online for free?

Newspapers initially created their websites with the best of intentions. After all, newspapers didn't want to be in the newspaper business, they wanted to be in the information business to survive and prosper. And rather than fight the new medium, the Internet, why not embrace it? Wanting to be the leading information providers and thereby have the most popular website in the community, they posted all of their news online for free.

Exacerbating the problem with free news was the decision by the newspaper industry, which owns the Associated Press, to sell AP copy to news aggregators like Yahoo, Google and MSN. These aggregators created lucrative news portals where the world could get much of the news that was in newspapers. So readers could now get free news not only at newspaper websites, but also from portals and aggregators that had a chance to monetize the content, most of which was created and financed by the newspaper industry.

With local radio and television stations also creating websites and posting their news for free, newspapers soon realized that much of the news on the broadcast websites was news that was created by the local newspaper. So, whereas before the newspapers were selling print ads while radio and TV were selling air time, now they were all selling the same medium: their websites. Since newspapers share their content with the Associated Press so other members can use it, radio and TV members are using much of that content to compete against the newspapers that created it.

Newspapers have for years been frustrated by radio stations which merely read the stories which are printed in that morning's edition. TV stations often get much of their news from the newspapers, too. But reading it on the air is clearly different from posting it online, placing them in direct competition with the newspapers' websites.

All of this would be fine if newspapers generated lots of additional revenues from offering free news. But the fact is newspapers generate most of their online revenues from classified advertising, not from news. Gordon Borrell estimated that newspaper websites generated 78% of their revenues from classifieds in 2006.

It turns out that a website is a very different medium from a newspaper. While consumers often find pop-up ads a distraction and banner ads as more clutter, readers often seek out the advertising in newspapers.

The Inland Cost and Revenue Study shows that newspapers will generate between $500 - $900 in revenue per subscriber per year. (You do the math: divide your newspaper's total revenues by your paid circulation.) But a newspaper's website typically generates $5.00 to $10.00 per unique visitor per year. It may be that newspaper websites as an advertising medium, and free news, just can't generate the revenue to sustain a valued news operation.

In fact, online revenues for the publicly traded newspaper companies in 2005 varied from 1.7% at Journal Register to 5.7% at Belo. The only company higher was the Washington Post at 8.4%. Yet newspapers typically spend 12% or more of their revenues on their news and editorial operations.

Our newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, does not offer our news for free on our website. We offer free headlines. On a few selected stories, we offer a few free paragraphs, designed to get people to read our paper. We also offer free classifieds.

Recently I had the opportunity to compare our website policy with the free news policies of other papers. For the six months ending 9/30/06, the newspaper industry's circulation was down 2.8% daily and 3.4% Sunday. By contrast, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's circulation was down 0.4% daily and 1% Sunday.

I was able to make another interesting comparison, too, with the Columbus (OH) Dispatch. Columbus and Little Rock are both state capitals. Columbus is a larger market, and the Columbus Dispatch's circulation of 217,291 compares with 176,172 for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Up until January 1, 2006, both our paper and the Columbus Dispatch offered news content only by subscription. We even charged the same price, $4.95, for an online monthly subscription, and both of us offered the same style electronic editions.

But Columbus dropped its subscription model on January 1, 2006 and began offering most of its news for free. Its web traffic and revenues certainly increased. But what happened to its paid circulation?

The six months ending 9/30/06 was a good comparison, since it compared six months in 2006 when the Columbus Dispatch had free news on its website compared with six months in 2005 when it did not offer free news.

The Columbus Dispatch's daily circulation was down 5.8% while Sunday was down 1.1% for the six months ending 9/30/06. This compared with our loss of less than 0.4% daily and 1% Sunday.

When I looked at this comparison with Columbus, as well as the newspaper industry's larger losses, it didn't encourage me to change our website policy to free news.

So what are we doing with our website? We have hired a videographer to complement our text coverage in the newspaper. We have added photo galleries to increase the number of photographs beyond what we can publish. We offer an electronic edition where you can search the entire edition by keywords, something you can't do in the print edition. And we offer breaking news e-mail alerts, something else you can't do in print. In other words, we are offering value on our website that complements, rather than cannibalizes, our print edition.

Collectively, the American newspaper industry spends $7 billion on news and editorial operations. This includes everything from copy editor salaries to sports travel expenses. In addition, the Associated Press spent about $600 million worldwide in editing and crating news. By offering this news for free, and selling it to aggregators like Google, Yahoo and MSN for a small fraction of what it costs to create it, newspaper readership and circulation have declined.

These declines are accelerating. In 2004 and prior years, industry circulation declines were usually less than 1%. Since March 2005, these declines have been 2% - 3% per year. With declining readership comes declining ad revenues, which are followed by layoffs. The newsroom layoffs are most troubling, as less news with less quality, context and details results in more declines in readership and later, declines in advertising. If the $7 billion spent on covering news becomes $6 billion, and later $5 billion, it is not just the newspaper industry that gets hurt. Journalism will be diminished in America with less investigative and enterprise reporting; indeed, less reporting of state houses, city halls, school boards, business and sports. Clearly a lot is at stake.

It is time for newspapers to reconsider the ultimate costs and consequences of free news.
 
2012-05-25 02:52:19 PM  
I'm willing to pay for The Economist.

But you'd have to pay me to read most of the bullshiat "news" on the internet.
 
2012-05-25 02:52:33 PM  
Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway struck a deal this month to acquire 63 newspapers, says he may buy more publications

The old man's finally gone senile. He thinks it's still 1950.
 
2012-05-25 02:52:37 PM  

Rev. Skarekroe: Free ANYTHING is unsustainable.
But we're reaching the point where people would rather do without pirate than pay.


FTFY
 
2012-05-25 02:58:16 PM  

K.B.O. Winston: talulahgosh: bdub77: Wait...you can get fark for free?

i know, i'm paying $50/year for this stuff.

Is that for ULTRA Fark? Total Fark is $60 a year.

/all the cool kids are in ULTRA, I hear
//sigh


If you buy a full year (12 months) of TotalFark at once, you get a $10 discount. Signing up for 6 months gets you a $5 dollar discount.
 
2012-05-25 03:04:21 PM  
It's not free, but it is no longer the product. It is simply the bait to attract the product.

Google-Book will soon be the primary source of news world wide, and the quality of the news will be significantly higher than anything that was able to be provided by traditional newspapers.
 
2012-05-25 03:04:55 PM  

McManus_brothers: If you buy a full year (12 months) of TotalFark at once, you get a $10 discount. Signing up for 6 months gets you a $5 dollar discount.


Ah, that clears things up. Thank you.

/not cool enough for Total Fark either
 
2012-05-25 03:06:43 PM  

K.B.O. Winston: McManus_brothers: If you buy a full year (12 months) of TotalFark at once, you get a $10 discount. Signing up for 6 months gets you a $5 dollar discount.

Ah, that clears things up. Thank you.

/not cool enough for Total Fark either


You are now!
 
2012-05-25 03:08:35 PM  

McManus_brothers: K.B.O. Winston: McManus_brothers: If you buy a full year (12 months) of TotalFark at once, you get a $10 discount. Signing up for 6 months gets you a $5 dollar discount.

Ah, that clears things up. Thank you.

/not cool enough for Total Fark either

You are now!


WHO'S AWESOME? YOU'RE AWESOME!!!!!
 
2012-05-25 03:15:33 PM  
There's lots of free content out there. I know people who keep blogs. They watch a movie and give it a quick review. I used to have a page with the best restaurants in my town on it, which was something like the #5 page for a search for "restaurant town" on Google and got quite a lot of hits.

But the other thing is that newspapers were a way to kill some boredom. People have lots of other ways to kill boredom now. My train used to be full of discarded newspapers - now it's people tweeting, playing Angry Birds, working on their laptops and so forth.
 
2012-05-25 03:23:57 PM  

Catsaregreen: You don't see Apple giving away its iPads to everyone to get more people to buy iPads.

When the news is free
by Walter E. Hussman, Jr.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us." This quote is appropriately attributed to the newspaper comic strip character Pogo.

One has to wonder how many of the newspaper industry's current problems are self-inflicted.

One of newspapers' major problems is free news. News has become ubiquitous, free, and as a result, a commodity. Anytime you are trying to sell something that becomes a commodity, you have lost much of the value in providing that product or service.

Not many years ago if someone wanted to find out about what was in the newspaper, they had to buy one. But not anymore. Now you can just go to the newspaper's website and get that same information for free.

The newspaper industry wonders why they are losing young readers. Those readers might be young, but many of them are smart. Why would they buy a newspaper when they can get the same information online for free?


This completely misunderstands what the internet did, which was to dramatically lower the cost barriers to publishing. Ignoring the internet would have meant that new players would have created news sites.
 
2012-05-25 03:26:26 PM  

K.B.O. Winston: McManus_brothers: K.B.O. Winston: McManus_brothers: If you buy a full year (12 months) of TotalFark at once, you get a $10 discount. Signing up for 6 months gets you a $5 dollar discount.

Ah, that clears things up. Thank you.

/not cool enough for Total Fark either

You are now!

WHO'S AWESOME? YOU'RE AWESOME!!!!!


Haha, well thank you. Enjoy!
 
2012-05-25 03:29:11 PM  
Buffet is buying newspapers, lots of them. What he means is that a system he (delusionally) intends to use to funnel massive profits to his pocket is incompatible with advertiser supported news.
 
kab
2012-05-25 03:48:26 PM  
I'd never pay for news. But I'll go to their concert and buy a t-shirt.

Rev. Skarekroe: Free ANYTHING is unsustainable.
But we're reaching the point where people would rather do without than pay.


Not really. We still line up happily for completely unneeded shiat. But if it's easy to steal, you can bet that not a dime will be paid for it.

Call it another side effect of the 'fark you, I've got mine" mentality that permeates this society.
 
2012-05-25 03:50:55 PM  
Good god. He's obscenely rich, and that stupid about newspapers?

Is the actual paper mostly original content, and not AP excerpts? If I can find a paper's articles free on the AP and local news channel sites, consider that a subscriber lost. Especially when a paper does like the rag here and puts up a pay wall, while all the network affiliates have the same news for free, in a more organized manner. If that's the case, consider all that lost ad revenue from going for an all-or-nothing subscription fee.

This is why papers are dying; there is scarcely anything but editorials that aren't copied from easily-accessed sources for free, at least in smaller newspapers. It's like paying for Fark on paper, with less snark.
 
2012-05-25 03:58:12 PM  

Nullav


Good god. He's obscenely rich, and that stupid about newspapers?


He is probably also that "stupid" - if we must use that word - about cooking, drywall, power steering, and ferrets. Wealth does not magically imbue knowledge.
 
2012-05-25 04:01:12 PM  
It's like Steve Jobs said about digital music - you can't compete with free. So you have to make your product, which is very similar to free, better than what you get for free.

And putting up a paywall in front of yesterday's news isn't the way to go about that.

I've said for years that local news paper websites should go all out on breaking news. Be THE local source for things that are happening locally. Don't give me a two paragraph article that ends with "read more about this event in tomorrow's Fish Wrapper". Send a reporter out with some decent connectivity and report from the scene and put it online NOW.
 
2012-05-25 04:05:54 PM  

Englebert Slaptyback: Nullav

Good god. He's obscenely rich, and that stupid about newspapers?


He is probably also that "stupid" - if we must use that word - about cooking, drywall, power steering, and ferrets. Wealth does not magically imbue knowledge.


Perfectly valid point, if he didn't decide to invest heavily in the object of his ignorance and cry foul after learning the rules of the game. This would be like buying a ferret as a living scarf and getting all upset when it claws an eye out. Also, you don't magically hold massive long-term wealth through such acts. Buffet just bought a ferret and blew my mind.
 
2012-05-25 04:12:58 PM  
Free news unsustainable? No, charging for crap is unsustainable. Sorry, but the bizness model of attempting to charge for garbage is gone.
 
2012-05-25 04:13:44 PM  
This is why papers are dying; there is scarcely anything but editorials that aren't copied from easily-accessed sources for free, at least in smaller newspapers. It's like paying for Fark on paper, with less snark.

This
Newspaper used to do investigative reporting and work to find things people should know about. Now it is just publish AP stuff, fluff pieces, opinion columns and ads. Produce something worth paying for and people will pay for it. The internet has made it possible to get all the fluff pieces, opinion columns and ads from blogs &Yahoo and the AP stuff for free from yahoo and suchlike. Do investigative journalism again and people might be willing to pay.
 
2012-05-25 04:17:32 PM  

AcneVulgaris: Rev. Skarekroe: Free ANYTHING is unsustainable.
But we're reaching the point where people would rather do without pirate than pay.

FTFY


You do realize theft is pretty basic animal stuff right? It's not new, it's just easy and comparatively consequence free. Granted, I'm not actually of the opinion that digital piracy is theft.
 
2012-05-25 04:19:02 PM  

PonceAlyosha: AcneVulgaris: Rev. Skarekroe: Free ANYTHING is unsustainable.
But we're reaching the point where people would rather do without pirate than pay.

FTFY

You do realize theft is pretty basic animal stuff right? It's not new, it's just easy and comparatively consequence free in the case of digital piracy. Granted, I'm not actually of the opinion that digital piracy is theft.


derp
 
2012-05-25 04:20:00 PM  
This why I'm glad I'm the editor of a hometown weekly newspaper -- we're the ones who are going to win this battle. There is no one else who covers what I do (for better or worse).

Also, if you any of you think bloggers are going to take the place of newspapers, you're sadly mistaken. I don't know of too many bloggers who will cover the Board of Supervisors or School Board meetings month after month. They're not sexy, but if you own property and have kids in school, those two boards have the most influence over your taxes. And without the press there to keep them in check, those boards can make their residents' life hell.
 
2012-05-25 04:21:59 PM  

PonceAlyosha: AcneVulgaris: Rev. Skarekroe: Free ANYTHING is unsustainable.
But we're reaching the point where people would rather do without pirate than pay.

FTFY

You do realize theft is pretty basic animal stuff right? It's not new, it's just easy and comparatively consequence free. Granted, I'm not actually of the opinion that digital piracy is theft.


It's not, it's copyright infringement. When something is stolen, the original owner loses access to said stolen object. When someone infringes a copyright, the content owner doesn't lose anything... they just don't gain anything, either.
 
2012-05-25 04:37:11 PM  
Well, then the whole Fark site will just be more like the Politics tab and just link to awesome, well-written blogs.
 
2012-05-25 04:58:04 PM  
This is what I got delivered to me this morning:

Link
 
2012-05-25 05:12:40 PM  
Not only is Fark free but I have the ads blocked as well
 
2012-05-25 06:14:15 PM  
I don't really trust the opinion of any man who can't keep up with a salt shaker.
 
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