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Caroline Little: Pay Walls Are Not “The Silver Bullet”

carolinelittle.jpgMediabistro.com has an interview today with Guardian News & Media’s North American CEO Caroline Little, a former Washington Post Co. digital executive who left that company last year. She joined the British media company as a consultant and was later named CEO. Now she’s in charge of marketing The Guardian‘s Web site to U.S. advertisers, with the help of a new stateside ad team.

Since Little has watched digital media since its beginnings we were eager to hear what she had to say about the prospect of making money off online advertising revenues and pay walls. To that end, she said those sorts of payments were just the beginning — media companies are going to have to find other sources of revenue in order to survive, she said:

“I think everybody’s trying to figure out how not to be so dependent on advertising. The funny thing is, newspapers in print have always had at least 80 percent of their revenue come from advertising. So I think everybody is trying to look at different lines of business. I think paying for content is just one revenue stream. I don’t think it’s going to be the silver bullet.”

Read on for more from Little’s interview


On rumors that GNM might be selling ContentNextMedia (which includes paidContent.org):

“It’s just a rumor; we are not for sale. I have a feeling the rumor is coming out of London. As the industry struggles, GNM, like every media company, is looking for ways to make money. One reporter misquoted me, but I said, ‘If I was in charge, I would be looking for other ways to make money, too.’”

On leaving the Washington Post:

“Katharine [Weymouth] was appointed CEO and publisher in January, and we talked about merging print and online. I had worked so hard to get it to where it needed to be, and I had just decided to go…It was totally the right thing to do. The last year I was there, it was very difficult trying to marshal the three brands and keep them together because there was a real push for each publication — WashingtonPost.com, Newsweek.com and Slate — to run their own entities. And I actually did not agree with that. I thought we should keep the sales teams together — and they have kept the sales teams together — but sort of economize on the back end. The print wants their own Internet presence, which I totally get, and it was a battle I wasn’t going to win, nor was I willing to fight for it any more.”

On the “salon” scandal from earlier this year at WaPo:

“I think Katharine [Weymouth] took the hit for something that she probably had very little to do with. I think she handled it correctly and well. She’s a good friend of mine, but I think she bore the brunt of that. I think you have to be really, really careful, and Katharine knows that. Somebody below her blew it. I think she knows that more than anyone.”

Read more: So What Do You Do, Caroline Little, CEO of Guardian News & Media North America?

Related: Women’s Mag Editors Meet To Discuss Launching Online Publications

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