back to article Gadget tax needed 'to save US newspapers'

Beware, anybody working in music or movies industries who thinks a levy - one that raises a little pot of money - will save the day. Newspaper tycoons got there first and parked their backsides in the little pot, and won't budge. They'll be able to do so because politicians still fear what newspapers say about them, and they don …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

papers?

I think newspapers vastly overestimate their own power. Let's not forget that 70% of the newspapers in this country went all out for 3 weeks earlier this year to FORCE the electorate to vote Conservative with laughable results (and indeed laughable "reporting").

This, along with the fact that less and less people are reading papers every year (why pay for news that is, at worst total lies and at best horrifically slanted opinion pieces/churnalism) means they'll have less and less power in the future. There will come a time soon when MPs will easily be able to ignore whatever crap papers decide to use as a dog whistle for easily enraged idiots (immigration anyone?) and actually get on with making decent, evidence based, policy decisions rather than having to pander to Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre's twisted idea of what's right and wrong.

16
2

How dare you!!!

"There will come a time soon when MPs will easily be able to ignore whatever crap papers decide to use as a dog whistle for easily enraged idiots (immigration anyone?)"

Immigration is a serious problem and not just an issue for "easily enraged idiots". These people aren't coming over here and doing unpleasant jobs like toilet cleaning and sewer maintenance at thoroughly pitiful wages.

Nonononono.

They're squatting in our sheds and eating our swans while living in posh flats paid for by the taxpayer and dining in swanky restaurants at our expense!!!!!

3
0
Silver badge
Coat

But don't you know...

... it was The Sun What Won It!

1
0

Transparency

Also, if Rusbridger wants a publicly-funded handout, or Murdoch to be allowed to operate a monopoly which would be heavily regulated in any other industry, let them declare the salaries of their owners, management, journalists, columnists & editors. I suspect many of them are paid stupid money for very little - rather like bankers in fact.

That's probably why they find it hard to make any money...

1
0
Flame

Bang on!

From Guido Fawkes:

"Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger got by on a total compensation package of a mere £544000 up from £473,000 last year [2007]. A 15% increase as a reward for losing £26.4 million – no belt tightening for him."

http://order-order.com/2008/07/30/guardian-lost-264-million-last-year/

Not that The Guardian believes in paying tax itself:

"Tax Justice campaigners had a small demonstration outside the Guardian’s offices today to protest at the hypocrisy of the Guardian campaigning for FTSE 100 companies to pay more corporation tax when, despite GMG making £300 million in profits last year, it paid none itself. GMG took advantage of a perfectly legal loophole to avoid paying taxes on the capital gains made on the sale of Auto Trader. Without exploiting the law they would have had to pay more than £50 million in tax!"

http://order-order.com/2009/02/06/tax-justice-protest-against-guardian/

0
0
Grenade

Let me be the first to say ...

F*ck the newspapers. If their business model is failing then so long and good luck. I can line my birdcage with something else.

5
0
Welcome

bring it on

The day doesn't need to be saved for the journalism and content industries, because money wants a voice and is willing to pay for it. That provides the subsidy for the Guardian and similar lossmakers which keeps them going and corporate sponsorship of the arts etc. The claimed crisis is more an opportunity to democratise the process, once we consider that the creative content sells the higher market-valued mechanisms used to carry the content. If there isn't a shortage of people spending money on audio reproduction equipment and audio carrying bandwidth, should the fact people don't want to spend money directly on individual recordings need to matter ?

So the article is a poor argument not give the creative content producers a sales commission in respect of the valuable mechanisms used for delivery (consumer electronics and Net bandwidth). If you really were ideologically opposed to all kinds of taxation in principle, then of course you would oppose this: because no market can deliver it directly, the state has to intervene for similar reasons that the state builds and maintains roads and passes laws without which markets could not exist.

But this money shouldn't be a tax in the conventional sense because it should not go through the accounts of the state. It will be charged to a very few industries through a little accountancy work. Politicians are not needed to vote where it goes though will have to decide how much should be paid, and consumers seeing slightly higher prices on Net connections and consumer electronics should get to decide which content creators benefit based upon the content which we actually use. So instead of opposing the inevitable, better to start thinking about how this process can be democratised, so that all who pay the commission on media carrying products we use can get to vote on who the content-providing beneficiaries should be based upon the music we listen to and the films we see. Unless you really want only the rich to have a voice in deciding what the content should be that is, as with the current system.

0
0
Law
Pirate

they can try it here

I will just stop paying for anything that company makes, and begin importing more gadgets - then let them and the government know why.

Not that it will make any difference.

0
0
Bronze badge

3 cents/month = $6 bn/year?

3 cents per person per month in the USA generates about 3 x 10*8 x 3 x 12 cents/year; about $100 million. A 3 cents/phone/month levy wouldn't come close to raising $6 bn.

It rather looks as though someone has changed day to month. 3 cents per day with two phones per person would be about 6 bn.

Oh dear, you can't get the staff these days, you know.

1
0

serves 'em right

for dumbing down for years, now they are finding out that all the stuff dumb people need is on the internet for free and they cannot compete.

here is a novel idea, why don't they concentrate on producing a product that people are willing to pay for, you know thoughtful insightful stuff, i think in the old days it used to be called journalism.

Of course that means they will need to employ journalists, not just blog copiers and twitter feed compilers.

6
0
Paris Hilton

Might be a silly question here...

... but I genuinely don't know. if the Guardian is losing £100,000 a day how is it still in business? And why would they keep going with that amount of losses?

1
0
Silver badge

Re: How is the guardian still in business.

You could equally ask how are the Times and Sunday Times carrying on with losses "twice" that level?

Modern newspapers have become vanity projects; the Guardian may not have an Australian oligarch behind it, but it's owned by a not-for-profit company (the Scott Trust) which exists to fund the Guardian, and measures its "return on its investment in terms broader than pure financial performance". (http://www.gmgplc.co.uk/ScottTrust/tabid/127/Default.aspx)

Financially, the Guardian Media Group made a stonking profit in 2007-8, and have been living off it for the last couple of years. The 2009-10 accounts are not out yet, but unless they've found some exceptional items, their accounts are going to be threadbare - although they've plenty of investments which could liquidated to ensure they keep Andrew's ire simmering. ;)

0
0
FAIL

Tax

And don't forget, due to their off-shore stuff, they don't pay any tax - instead they just write articles complaining about tax avoidance.

It will be good to see the back of them, not sure what teachers will read though - Daily Telegraph?

1
0
Coffee/keyboard

100,000 a day

Owning a newspaper beats owning a football team for some rich people and I can understand why. If you are sitting on a huge pile of cash you may as well either have some fun or make some noise using it.

2
0

>> about an ability to hear previously unheard voices;

Tell me they're coming to take him away

0
0
Silver badge

Add another one..

..to the "screw them" opinion pile. If newspapers go the way of the dodo, too bloody bad. I for one would not be sorry to see the vast majority of them disappear, though new sources of cheap birdcage liner, loo roll and fish&chip containers would need to be located.

That said, at least the Metro isn't too bad, if 50% advertisement.

2
0
Thumb Up

titular requirement

The articles in the Metro are culled from MGN's regional publications.As such, they are of better jounalistic quality than most, coming from grass roots not quite jaded yet reporters.

1
0
FAIL

I'd just to like one very serious point if I may...

I'd just to like one very serious point if I may...

The Guardian loosing £100,000 a day? One-Hundred-Thousand... A DAY? The equivalence of a Three Bedroom House in a nice-ish area, a day, you loose?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

You're doing it WRONG!

That is all :o)

0
0
Pirate

Hmph

I wonder - did our wonderful US government raise and redistribute taxes to circus freaks and carnies when TV started cutting so deeply into their business 60 years ago? I mean, who wants to go to the circus when the idiot lamp is lit? And think about those poor souls who used to make vinyl records and how harsh life was for them when tapes and then CDs came out.

Society moves on, and yesterday's winners are tomorrow's losers. Newspaper is just now figuring out that maybe not many people care for their product anymore, and those same newpapers are wanting to use their political clout to shore-up their faltering revenues with tax money. Hey, why not? We just bailed the banks out of their gambling habit a couple of years ago, so why not extend some of that wonderful love to the newspaper lusers too?

1
0
Heart

Tough love for news papers

I keep getting calls asking to sign up for the San Francisco chronicle and others - I keep telling them - no - I read news on google news - why waste the paper? I do not think that google should be charged for this however - if they do not want to have their paper on google - then they may not get read - no loss to me - I can get my news from some where else - I read the register - what more does the world need? ;)

1
0
Silver badge
Grenade

Want to "save the news"?

Granted, I might be oversimplifying a bit -- but I know I'm not the only one thinking this:

If the newspapers want to be "saved", it's not going to be with gadget gimmicks or tax handouts or pay walls; why don't they take a chance and do some real journalism, some real investigative reporting, and report on real actual news, instead of being conduits for government/corporate disinformation and useless sensationalism and celebrity bullshit. Shit, man, why the hell should I pay upwards of a buck for a copy of the Washington Post if it's all a bunch of spin and lies? That rag is called "Pravda On The Potomac" for a reason, y'know.

4
0
Unhappy

High Speed Internet Prices

The obvious problem is that people with high speed internet connection in the US are paying a lot for it. My connection is $50 per month. That's $1.64 per day on average. There's no value in that for me since I work long hours and use the Internet less than 2 hours on weekdays (and there's no one else in my household).

Paying anymore for media especially news per day seems ridiculous to the consumer as does the high cost of having a high speed internet connection. It's no wonder people download pirated movies and music to add value to their internet expenditure.

So the solution may be just charging people for what they use in bandwidth and not a set pricing fee. That way the newspapers could charge a nominal tax of some sort to my bill and I would care a lot less.

2
2
Silver badge

I'm fairly sure..

..that you can buy frame-based bandwidth. At one time, before broadband and when it cost money to dial the ISP in the UK, you were billed per-minute of connected time. Plus the monthly cost to the ISP.

A £200 phone bill in one month is not fun. I imagine you'd like frame-based or time-based Internet billing right up until the time you wanted to watch a high-def stream or download an ISO. Or, hell, if you have a slow night and decide to spend it in front of the interactive goggle box.

0
0
Silver badge

Reality check wanted...

So our laws are being screwed with to support the ailing media industry. Now a report of a levy to support the ailing newspaper industry.

Fsck the lot of them. Who helped the ailing British car industry, or indeed any of the things that used to be "Made in England" but now aren't?

2
0
Gold badge
Thumb Down

UK governments are *scared* of Murdoch

However in China News Corp does what *their* government wants.

He knows in a police state "news"papers have *no* effect on who wins and his satellite channels can be jammed if NC doesn't toe the party line.

The UK has *no* cross media ownership rules to stop people like NC having both TV (sky and Fox "News") and the Sun and Times. When such laws were proposed guess who screamed?

While forcing them to sell either their TV or newspaper holdings in the UK would be the obvious option (and no doubt the one they would howl about most) the more focused one would be to apply the Representation of the Peoples act to print media.

This would allow them to keep all those expensive assets and (done properly) stop politicians being so afraid of a man who neither lives in their country nor pays their taxes. It would *not* stop real public interest journalism picking individual MP's dubious business deals, but it should handicap the more blatant "Vote for xxx" propaganda (where XXX is the party which RM reckons has the most pliable leadership) masquerading as "political analysis".

0
0

Maybe we do need to subsidise the "news"

In the UK we've got the BBC who do a really good job of reporting news from around the world. If the newspapers die, then there will be a load of reporters around the world replaced by reporters sat in an office monitoring twitter feeds etc...

While I can see the attraction of not having a load of over-literate drunks (sorry, stereo typing journos there! ;-) ) scattered around the world I would be concerned about the accuracy of results from the other option.

How easy would it be to create a few fake accounts and publish a whole load of local news about a fictional event. If foreign news start to pick it up as reality, then local news would need to start reporting it as fact even though they hadn't investigated it yet.

e.g. start news about a riot in protest about petrol prices, before you know it enough people have turned up to join in that it becomes a riot. (flash mob anyone?)

With no "real" news around it could get much harder to prevent.

(Thanks to the scifi author who wrote the flash mob story, I can't recall his name but I can recall the name of the journo in it was something like Jerry Barry Jansen. That dealt with instant transport and instant news concepts)

0
0
Thumb Down

Let the newspapers die...

All these moguls & their poisonous journos do is manipulate the public to their way of thinking. With online free news at many varied offerings at least their is an overall awareness of reality rather than the current thinly-veiled rubbish.

The pollies who are so frightened of the papers need most of all to get these A-holes out of the way & for those who maintain their presence by financing the papers need to lose their support.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums