Let me get this straight …
We’re in an era in which corporations are given every conceivable break to do whatever the hell they want and barely pay for it. And they’re still borrowing so much that they’re getting BBB ratings?
So when the next recession hits, the government and corporations will have already gone so deep into the red that no rational person will lend them another dime?
Yeah, this’ll end well.
This news comes to you from The Washington Post, and whatever you think of Amazon’s business practices, at least Jeff Bezos is keeping such reporting alive. Similar stories are at NPR and the Financial Times.
Here are the things that can be supported by advertising …
Traditional TV networks, which continue to produce high-budget shows even as ratings are a small fraction of what they were.
Cable/other TV channels, which produce high-budget shows even as ratings were never that great in the first place.
PlutoTV, which must be watched by at least 10s of people. (Seriously — it’s utterly impossible to get schedules, so who watches unless they’ve simply exhausted every other possibility?)
Some YouTube channels
Here are the things that can be supported by a mix of advertising and subscriptions …
The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Post
The New York Times
Here are the things that can be supported by subscriptions only …
Consumer Reports (phew!)
Netflix and its gazillions of original shows
Hulu’s original shows
Here are the things that no one has figured out how to support …
In 1995, a perceptive astronomer named Clifford Stoll warned that the Internet was going to open a gateway to a flood of misinformation and hostility.
In 2010, Stoll hopped into a conversation about his supposed error. The Mission’s Rob Howard summed up what happened:
Everyone appears to have missed the irony that a bunch of anonymous Internet commenters were trolling a renowned scientist, 15 years after the fact, for accurately predicting the proliferation of anonymous Internet trolls.
(Reminder: In 2000, some hack grad student at Duke said roughly the same thing, only not as brilliantly.)