Newsorgs Should Offer Freemium Live Interviews

Newspapers are really good at interviewing, and they have the brand recognition to get big names. But, it seems that they've missed the opportunity to make money off of this skill.

heads up: this is a pretty old post, it may be outdated.

Through Steve Outing’s blog I discovered a video interview of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. The interview is a short seven and half minutes long, but is insanely interesting. So interesting in fact, that I’d be willing to pay to see the full, unedited interview. Especially if paying meant I could have watched it live and asked questions during the interview.

Which lead me to the following idea – newspapers are very good at interviewing people. Further, their brand recognition can get them access to folks that the typical blogger doesn’t have access to. Interviews of industry leaders talking about things they don’t typically present in public is certainly premium content that people would be willing to pay for – especially if they can write it off as a business expense.

What a great application of freemium to newspaper online content. Offer a shorter video like the one above for free, and then charge a monthly rate if people want live access.

Of course, there’s a major problem. People are already doing this and providing the content for free. This Week in Startups (TWiST), started just a few weeks ago by Jason Calacanis, the founder of . The show concept is very cool: he uses ustream to livestream an hour long interview with founders and CEOs of interesting startups. He uses a Twitter hashtag as a backchannel to the whole show, allowing people to converse and ask questions. Best of all, this is free.

If Calacanis, who is undoubtedly a busy man, can do this, for free. There must be countless other examples of the same. Just check the iTunes Podcast directory for more.

Mark another lost opportunity for newspapers.