Thursday, February 4, 2010

Demand Media's Plan to Sell Content to Old-Media Fatties

For many of the people trying to eke out a living in the world of traditional media, the two most frightening words in the English language are Demand Media. Demand employs 7,000 freelance writers, editors, and videographers, and it produces a staggering 4,500 pieces of original content per day—most of it housed on such websites as eHow.com and tailored to pop up in response to almost every conceivable Google search (Associated Content, Seed.com, and others run similar operations).


What’s so scary about that? The pay. Demand pays roughly $15 for an original, well-written and researched 500-word article. That’s three cents per word, about one-tenth of what a writer would get from a frugal magazine or newspaper. Nevertheless, media professionals are signing up in droves, according to Steven Kydd, Demand Media’s executive vice president in charge of content, whom I spoke with on the phone yesterday and who on Monday addressed a lunch organized by the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA).


Kydd dismisses out of hand the notion that his company is driving down wages for writers, editors, and videographers. “The media business has always had a wide variety of pay scales,” he says. “What we hear from our creators is, ‘I love the fact that I have consistent work that I can count on from you every single month.’”


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