Professional, ethical, rigorous journalism is as important to
democratic society as it has ever been, and as more consumer attention moves to
the web, people will need trusted, independent sources of information. But there is no
question that news organizations are struggling make the most of the web.
According to the Newspaper Association of America, there were 1,483 daily
newspapers in the US in 1999, a number that fell gently to 1,408 at the end of 2008.
Between January and June 2009, however,
105 US newspapers closed, 10,000 newspaper jobs have been lost, and print ad sales fell by 30%.
What's happening? The economics of supply and demand have shifted for the news industry. The Internet has destroyed the scarcity that drove the traditional business model for newspapers. Content (and advertising inventory) is now nearly infinite, with well over a trillion pages on the web today. The appetite for content has grown as well, but at a slower rate. The result is that even news websites with millions of monthly visitors have difficulty making online advertising cover their costs. Subscription-based paywalls, meanwhile, have only rarely worked. For circulation-based revenue to work on the web, the financial and psychological cost to users must be much lower.
bitcents is a new startup committed to making news micropayments work for publishers, consumers and developers. By building a payment platform that is both scalable and flexible, we hope to help our publishing partners develop new, viable and sustainable business models that value content. bitcents is easy for publishers of all shapes and sizes to integrate, and it's easy for consumers to use. bitcents is also a platform on which developers can build, encouraging competition and innovation to help consumers make the most of premium content online.
Andrew Brennan is head of partnerships at bitcents, which he founded. Originally from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Andrew holds a bachelors degree in political science from Yale University and two masters degrees, in comparative social policy and management research, from the University of Oxford. He rowed competitively for many years, with Yale (where he was captain of the heavyweight crew), the US National Team, and the Oxford University Boat Club. Since January 2007 Andrew has worked at Glasshouse Partnerhsip, a London-based corporate marketing agency, where he has focused on the intersection of sports, technology and social responsibility. Andrew is a passionate believer in the value of the web as an open, democratic medium, and in the importance of professional journalism to local, national and international society. He lives in London.
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