WBZ cuts Leveille, Cuddy, Dyett, poss. Desmarais

John Francini francini@mac.com
Fri Jan 2 15:23:48 EST 2009


The big problem with this is that the Internet isn't the sort of  
medium radio/TV/cable is.  Radio/TV/cable has an oligarchy of  
suppliers providing a finite amount of content via a limited resource  
(airwaves or cable slots) via gatekeepers that can effectively control  
the access.  The Internet has an effectively infinite number of  
content sources, and the 'gatekeepers' (i.e., the ISPs) started out  
using the telephone company model: they saw themselves as 'common  
carriers', whose only responsibility was delivering bits, not being  

And they've done this for good reason.  By being common carriers, they  
can largely avoid lawsuits, calls for censorship, or any of the other  
"control what the downtrodden masses can access" desires of self- 
appointed Arbiters Of What's Right and Moral.

When they start doing otherwise, they run afoul of groups and  
organizations such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation, major  
destinations such as Google, and the FCC. That's the whole point  
behind the "Network Neutrality" concept. Some ISPs, such as Comcast,  
have made efforts to use their 'last mile' dominance to try to steer  
people to content they want to promote.

See the Wikipedia article: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_neutrality 

As someone who has 'grown up' with the Internet, since its early days  
as a campus-and-computer-industry phenomenon in the 1980s, I feel very  
strongly about this. Media companies must NOT try to inflict the  
'scarce resources' pricing models of airwaves or cable on the  
Internet, or the fight will be long, hard, and unrelenting.  This is  
NOT negotiable.

If the Boston Globe can't find a model that works on the Internet, or  
a way to make people pay for its content *without* forcing the ISPs at  
gunpoint to be their hired collection agency, then they should just  
close up shop and go out of business, much like the buggy whip  


> Reports state that The Globe is losing $1 million per week. I have a  
> hard time fathoming that, I really do, but let's accept that as fact.
> A big reason they are losing that cash is because people go to  
> various Web sites, including boston.com. Newspapers developed the  
> Internet model totally wrong. Instead of developing a site that was  
> ancillary to the paper, they decided to give their product away for  
> free. No wonder why people are losing money. Advertisers see no  
> value in advertising in a product that doesn't require people to buy  
> it.
> As far as ISPs getting dragged into the mix and paying for content,  
> well, desperate times call for desperate measures. I'd like to see  
> someone *try* it. It won't be successful without some painful  
> litigation, but someone needs to try.

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