Just like everwhere in the world the relationship between internet and traditional media is leading to heated debates, but in China it takes a very special turn. ESWN has hit the jackpot again with a translation of the China Youth Daily and especially a good article in the Economy Magazine First a bit of background.
When internet media started to emerge, they also hired journalists, or would-be journalist. That caused a short spell of panic among the media authorities who rightfully thought they would be losing control. They then ordered that internet media could only republish articles that had already been published in the (government-controlled) print media.
First, internet media tried to ignore or avoid that regulation, but in the end complied. They got the content mostly for free, since many of the newspapers saw there was no money in the internet. Later as the internet media started to boom, especially the more regional and otherwise less famous media thought it was great promotion if they were republished on the internet, especially on one of the more famous portals.
Those portals then became very good in repackaging the news, becoming a real medium on their own force, although they had to stick to the original regulation that they could not hire journalists and collect news themselves.
That silent consensus has now become under pressure as the previously booming print publications have entered a severe economic downturn:
According to research conducted by the China Renmin University Media Management Research Institute, the total revenue of the newspaper industry in the first half of last year was falling. The advertising revenue fell between 10% to 30%, with some newspapers falling by more than 40%. On August 26, 2005, Beijing Youth Media announced a net profit of 170,000 RMB for the first half of the year, which was a 99.7% drop compared to the 66.309 million RMB for the same period last year. The media were in an uproar. Previously, in the past 20 years, its advertising revenue had been growing by an average of 33% per annum.The winter has hit the Chinese newspapers, as the article in the Economy Magazine says, while the internet media make more money than ever. The newspapers now want to get compensated. On the suggestion last year to wither the winter the Jiefang Daily, the paper of the Communist Party in Shanghai, has suggested 39 similar papers to set up an alliance to support each other with content, and want to ban internet media from using their content for free.
But many of the papers did not take up the suggestions, says one attendee:While figures in 2006 suggest that the decline of revenue for traditional media have not come to a standstill, the dispute between traditional media and internet portals still exists. Most internet media preferred not to contribute to the article of the Economy Magazine.
Wu Haimin was one of the chief publishers at the Nanjing "Metropolitan Newspapers Chief Editors Study Annual Conference." Afterwards, he wrote on his own blog: "According to what I know, not all the chief editors in attendance signed the declaration. Certain chief editors said that they will go back and study the matter, but chances are that there won't be any feedback. At the time, we asked the various newspaper to publish the Nanjing Declaration. In practice, most newspapers did not publish it."