Back To Top

Zero-margin society presents opportunity for journalism

Jeremy Rifkin, a world-famous futurist, said Monday that the journalism industry can become the beneficiary of what he calls "zero-margin society," by capitalizing on their platforms to engage in networks with readers.

The zero-margin society refers to a system where it costs almost no resources to benefit an additional person with services or products, like environment-friendly power generation, or simply sharing video content online.

Referring to journalism content circulating online without additional costs, Rifkin said the global media industry should now find ways to bolster their expertise, although the segment faces an environment where news articles became one of the zero-margin resources to be distributed almost free.

"Of course, a large number of magazines are in big trouble. I believe traditional print will phase out. The question now is how do you make money," Rifkin said on the sideline of the five-day OECD Ministerial Meeting Daejeon 2015, World Science & Technology Forum that runs through Friday. The event is a gathering where scholars and government experts will discuss technology-related issues under the theme "Creating our common future through science, technology, and innovation."

As a professor, Rifkin said he was impressed by how global news producers are actually making efforts to survive with the new trend.

"They put free content but expertise in things people want.

Free contents are there but you can buy subscriptions (and receive) more layered analysis and contents," Rifkin said, adding he also puts out large portion of his works for free.

"There are still ways to make ends meet, although it will be challenging.This is the democratization of news and knowledge. It is very healthy for the younger generation," he said.

Rifkin, meanwhile, stressed that the public still must be concerned over the falling quality of content.

"What I'm worried about is contents losing ability (to help readers) think in a deep layered way. Then we lose the best talent we have, which is to produce knowledge," Rifkin said.

Rifkin said although he admires South Korea's achievements in technology, the country also must make efforts to establish an environment-friendly ecosystem.

"You are starving for something, but you don't know what it is. It is too much from being natural way of the planet. Where is nature? Where is environment living? We need to re-introduce the younger generation to awesome natural living," Rifkin said.

During his keynote speech held earlier in the day, Rifkin highlighted that the traditional economic system has changed.

"Already the young people live in hybrid systems. They are exchanging goods and services for free, zero margin cost in a sharing economy," he said.

Rifkin said the wane of traditional industries and social systems will bring more benefits to mankind, adding he likes the beginning of new things.

"I hope my work will be the beginning, not the end," he said, referring to his book titled, "The End of Work."

"I do have new book I am preparing. I am not ready to discuss. I'm going to make sure it's not going to end with end." (Yonhap)