Julie Larson, creator of The Dinette Set, is the latest in a long line of syndicated cartoonists that's bemoaning the death of newspapers at the hands of the Internet.
As I understand her argument, she's getting paid less now because newspapers and her syndicate are giving away her cartoons online for free. So she's hoping that her television deal goes through because she'll earn lots of money when people can watch her cartoons on TV for free.
Granted, most cartoonists aren't terribly business savvy. But this kind of double-think astounds me to no end. (And it's not just Larson, I should note. Many newspaper cartoonists have made similar comments. Larson has just made the most obvious and recent one.)
Television, radio and newspapers all have run with the same basic business model. You give away your product for nothing, or next to nothing, and then sell advertising space. And you know what? A lot of sectors in the Internet work the same way, too. You don't pay to use Google's search engine, but they earn boatloads of money from the ads that are placed next to your search results. Most of the webcomic success stories work the same way. They give away the content (their comics) and make money on ads (in some cases, via selling their own products through the website).
Take a look at Phil and Kaja Foglio's site...
Big ol' Project Wonderful ad across the top, and a smaller ad for their own company store in the upper right. Both before the comic actually starts.
Ditto for Jennie Breeden...
...And Charlie Trotman...
They're giving away their comics, just like Larson's are being given away. Well, except that the specific model Larson is following clearly doesn't work for her. Namely, the successful cartoonists are syndicating themselves, while Larson is letting someone else syndicate her work for her.
You know, I get that people don't like to change something that's worked for them in the past. Really. I do understand that. But if it stops working, isn't it more appropriate to figure out what does work instead of reminiscing about how it used to work?