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Not according to Google who have released a new archive system for older news articles.
News archive search provides an easy way to search and explore historical archives. In addition to helping you search, News archive search can automatically create timelines which show selected results from relevant time periods.
Of course, the example of a few papers like the Times making money from archives will cause the less intelligent smaller papers to think they can too. They'll charge for archive access, further driving customers to the few papers on the fat end of the Zipf curve, and keep wondering why it isn't working.
The news biz has had a very hard time weaning itself from selling its product, as well they might. In my opinion, they would have been wise to stick to the WSJ model and give very little away for free.
If you're interested in an informed but somewhat odd take on the news biz on the web, I posted this in Foo a few days ago about what a former newspaper executive proposed:
If the NYTimes put their content behind a paid login, I'm sure they'd get some subscribers but would lose most of their ad revenue.
My local small-city paper adopted the "charge for archives" approach a long time ago. I imagine that the only thing people would pay for would be unique local content. Nobody is going to pay for their coverage of a national story from a few years ago, and I don't thing Google's new venture will affect that one way or the other. People might pay for NYTimes coverage of a national event because they assume it will be thorough and authoritative. OTOH, if the archives of other respected sources are free, archive revenue would definitely go down.
The problem AP and the newspapers have to deal with is that if anyone, anywhere, puts articles online for free then there's no reason Google can't point people there. It's amazing how much local news I'm already reading at news outlets with names like Hong Kong Daily News or the Hindustan Times.
Ads on news websites are not as effective as marketing tools as most of vertical websites. There is not a lot to market that is in context with the news. And, when people are looking at the news online, they are seldom "buying."
The travel sections, the food sections, the health sections, the entertainment sections--that's different. But, that's not what we typically call news.
When you think about it, why were the women's underwear ads in the paper on Sunday next to the stories A 2 and A3 stories on Viet Nam and the EPA's problems with the new sewage plant? (Answer: Tradition--buyers knew to look there.)
Not all content can be ad supported effectively. In those cases where it cannot, such as news and music, it should not be given away at low or no cost. It was a mistake to try.