Guardian’s Rusbridger: Digital Threatens To Destroy Press Funding

The rise of many-to-many, a 15-point love-letter to Twitter and the possible destruction of the role and funding of the press. That was Guardian News & Media editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger’s back-story in delivering the Andrew Olle Media Lecture 2010 in Sydney on Friday – “we are living at the end of a great arc of history”.

Here’s the full transcript from 702 *ABC* Sydney – but here are some highlights elucidating GNM’s thinking on commercial models to underpin an arc for the future

“Yes, we’ll charge for some of this – as we have in the past – while keeping the majority of it open.

“My commercial colleagues at the Guardian firmly believe that our mutualised approach is opening up options for making money, not closing them down.

“None of this is to criticise people who try a different path… you can’t preach plurality and argue for a single model of journalism or against attempts to find alternative ways of financing what we do.

“I’ve always argued it’s a good thing that different organisations are trying different routes to the future. And the models that are currently emerging are very different.

“Our web traffic last month averaged just over 2m unique browsers a day.

“One independent company which measured the Times’s UK web audience during September found that their web traffic – not including ipad apps – had fallen by 98 per cent per cent as people progressed past the paywall.

“More sophisticated analysts than me calculate that the content behind the paywall is therefore generating a total global audience of about 54,000 a month, of whom about 28,000 are paying for the digital content (the remainder being print subscribers).

“That’s not a criticism of the Times, that path may well make sense for how they see the future. The jury on the relative financial models for different approaches will remain out for a while yet. But these comparative figures point to completely different ideas of scale, reach, audience, engagement, ambition… and of journalism itself.”

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