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Die Zeit - Germany | Thursday, August 8, 2013

Journalism bait for other businesses

Europe's largest telecommunications company, Deutsche Telekom, has started selling digital subscriptions to two papers put out by the German media publisher Springer Verlag. Mobile phone customers can now add subscriptions to Bild and Die Welt to their contracts. The liberal weekly paper Die Zeit cringes at this new business model: "Those who supply as much personal data as possible receive content tailored to their needs, and highly discounted at that. Those who supply little or no data receive less individual counselling and pay more. ... Where is this all going? ... With the announced acquisition of subsidiaries that have nothing to do with journalism, Bild and Die Welt would become part of a large digital warehouse offering texts and photos. And the data supplied by the readers would in turn become hard currency. ... In this way journalism would become nothing but bait, aimed at luring far more profitable business. [Amazon chief and buyer of the Washington Post, Jeff] Bezos is no doubt thinking along very similar lines."

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