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Shira Ovide

Google and Facebook Killed Free Media

TV, journalism and music turn to subscription revenue.

When surfing the web or your favorite apps, it's hard not to notice the nudges to pony up for a subscription to Spotify, the local newspaper or Hulu. The nagging demonstrates how companies in the business of TV, journalism and music are breaking up with advertising, which has been much of the media industry's best friend for decades.

And no wonder the friendship is ending. Worldwide newspaper industry revenue has fallen 30 percent since 2009, according to Magna Global. Revenue from TV commercials is growing barely in line with economic growth, and the television is losing its longtime position as advertising's top dog. The music industry makes more from sales of vinyl records than it does from music video ads on YouTube, the most popular place to listen to digital music.