Professionals will pay if content is 'intelligent and fast'

The founder and editor-in-chief of the financial opinion and analysis service which is syndicated in newspapers and magazines across the world and available to paying subscribers online.

Giving the keynote speech at the SIIA Global Information Industry Summit in London this morning, the former FT and Economist journalist said that despite “inexorable decline in print journalism” there was still a “cash-rich and time-poor” audience willing to pay for original, in-depth journalism.

“The audience demands increasingly sophisticated information. And in the financial world speed really does matter. You may be more knowledgeable than you were (with slower stories) but you’ve lost the opportunity to make money.”

Dixon said that 95 per cent of Breaking Views’ customers had renewed their subscriptions in the first half of 2008 – despite the global slowdown – and he said he would soon announce some major deals with newspapers and magazines across the world. Its relationship with the Wall Street Journal has just ended but the company has signed a mobile content deal, an area Dixon predicted would see exponential growth for Breaking Views.

The company began in the 1990s and was a product of the dotcom boom, surviving the digital crash.

Dixon warned that the advent of independent professional media businesses such as Breaking Views was in marked contrast to the decline mainstream media brands. Dixon claimed to have as many journalists as the FT’s Lex column and the WSJ’s Heard on the Street column combined.

“I’m not saying newspaper brands will vanish,” he said. “Though it is declining they still have brands and that really matters. They are trying to get their act together and finally are getting their brands online.

“The question is, how do you make money? If you cut back on quality the risk is the product won’t be as good as it was.”

He pointed out that 2008 is the first year that hugely the hugely successful US-based financial newswire Bloomberg has not continued to expand its business. “It’s been a phenomenal success but this is the first year they have said ‘stop’,” he said.

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