News from the Edge

The fee vs. free content debate: Part 2

Posted by Wes Fleming on Feb 18, 2016 10:40:05 AM

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Read Part 1 of this post.

There is an old adage I’m sure you’re familiar with – you get what you pay for. In this case, the lure of free content is powerful.  Every company’s budget is stressed and every employee is looking for ways to trim costs.  If the tech geeks downstairs in their dark, smelly rooms can write a bit of code that scrapes Google News for today’s top headlines, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of value in paying the Associated Press for their stories.

Except when there is.

Services like Google News don’t care about you, your company or any of your needs.  They are going to open the fire hose and send you everything that will fit through it.  Makes sense since the name Google is derived from an unfathomable number. Sure, they apply some relevancy magic to bring organization to search results but the rest is up to you.  Now there are questions where a search on a search engine will give you exactly the answer you need in an instant: the score of a game, the location of a business, listing of services, etc.  Google News can give you the top stories of the day for a variety of topics.  If a little monitoring is all your job requires, then free sounds like the way to go while monthly subscriptions are unnecessary.  However when there is information you seek that requires a little more research it might be time to open the wallet.

Your time is worth something to your employer.  Whether you are salaried or hourly, you are getting paid when you are on the clock.  How many times have you run a search, scanned the top 10 results only to try again, and again.  That nugget of information you seek is out there but just not readily available.  What’s worse is seeing that headline in your results set that makes you think, “Yes!  This is it” but it’s not.  It’s an article from 2008 that is no longer relevant.

Blog_22_keep_calm.jpgPaid services offer two very important benefits: accuracy and relevancy.  News sources such as the New York Times are “the source”.  They provide the facts and story around these facts.  You know them, you trust them and those like them.  Further, these subscriptions allow you to specify exactly what information you need; you’ll pay a little for it, but in the long run, that money will save you time and effort – which will save you money.

If you’re looking for just one source, then you’re done – but most companies that rely on up-to-the-minute breaking news don’t rely on just one source.  You’ll want more sources – a half dozen? a dozen? – and that’s when the debate about free vs. fee starts to lean heavily in favor of fee.

When you want news that is not just relevant to your needs but important enough for you to pay attention to, it’s not enough to pay individual providers for their content.  You need all that news, and you need it immediately.  This is where companies like Acquire Media come in. Instead of you having to manage a dozens of content provider contracts, have your techies build feed handlers, put editors on task monitoring data flow, and more such tasks, you go to a content aggregator like Acquire.  Yes, I realize I’m pumping the company I work for, but I work here because I believe in the product, the technology behind it, and the people I work with.

Acquire Media manages all the tedious back-end tasks most companies don’t have the time, or frankly the expertise, to manage.  We then provide you with a tool – NewsEdge – to use to extract exactly what content you need, on your schedule and suited to what’s important to you, your employees and your clients.

That’s where fee-based content starts to make sense.  In exchange for your fee, you skip merrily past the companies that are struggling to parse the firehose news feed, and you have the time to absorb what you want to absorb when you want to absorb it.

There is value in free content, but when it comes to balancing the amount of that content against your time and effort, the value of content with fees attached becomes clear – our time and effort saves you time and effort, and that saves you money in the long run.

Try NewsEdge Today


photo credit: KCABS via photopin (license)

Topics: Content

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