“Bild has joined up with discount supermarket chain Lidl to sell a basic digital camera to a legion of citizen journalists, who the tabloid hopes will contribute images to its coverage.
“”We can’t cover everything,” said Michael Paustian, a Bild managing editor. “We think it is an advance for journalism.”
“The pocket-sized camera has 2GB of memory, can shoot still pictures and video, and costs €69.99 (£60). It comes with software and a USB port that allows “reader-reporters” to upload content directly to editors who will be assigned to review it for publication.”
But the real news here, I think, is that Bild may have stumbled across an interesting business model for news.
As I wrote in The Telegraph this week: “if you teach a man to fish, they not only eat for a lifetime, but you’ve just created a market for fishing rods, bait and angling magazines.”
With impeccable timing, Bild are doing just that: not just finding a way to fill their webpages, they’re creating a market for digital cameras.
I suspect that wasn’t their intention. But if they’ve been smart, they’ll have negotiated a good commission on the cameras. And if they’re smarter, they’ll realise that that could be as valuable a revenue stream as the advertising they can sell on the resulting user generated content.
Either way, it’s a new way to think about the news business: it’s not just about creating supply – it’s also about creating demand. Like Facebook’s virtual gifts, it may be that the major source of revenue for the news industry doesn’t even exist yet, and we’re just waiting for someone even smarter than the people at Bild to come up with it.