MulTra: Finally, there is a Robust Business Model for the Distribution of Online News Content

While the online services for streaming movies and music operate in well-functioning and competitive ecosystems, publishers of news content still must fight for survival.

Professional journalism also followed the migration of its client base to the internet, but it failed to secure its remuneration. Rather than sticking to preferred print media for which they pay, modern consumers followed the call of their DNA: We all fell back into our ancient instincts of hunter-gatherers. We quarry for news wherever we like, and now we want our discoveries for free. In fact, we get our rides quite easily, as publishers run an immense number of free news websites.

Publishers don’t mean this as generosity; this is a defensive strategy. They aim to flag a presence, but they don’t earn money. Journalists are reduced to subsistence level or even less.

The publishers run websites with high-class news which are chargeable. However, under the present circumstances, foraging hunter-gatherers don’t step over their thresholds. They don’t get the flavour of the best quality. They don’t even ask themselves whether they are prepared to pay for permanent access.

“Appetite comes with food”, that is the simple truth which the new blockchain based MulTra System uses as its point of departure. “MulTra” is accessible via an app or a browser. It is a one-stop shop for access to all kinds of online news. Users enjoy easy retrieval of and access to the information which they deem relevant. The system learns what is relevant for each user and it proposes new content along these lines.

MulTra feeds publishers with aggregated data on its users’ consumption habits. This is valuable information for publishers. They will provide incentives for news content consumers by allowing them to earn MulTra Tokens (MTT) simply by retrieving news through the pleasant gateway. The MTT Tokens are the “gas” of the system, as readers can redeem them for cheaper or free access to chargeable high-value news content. The user experience will allow readers to decide whether they wish to stay on board at commercial rates or not. Our trials suggest that the conversion rate will be considerable. Clearly, the new MTT “gas” is the substance which allows publishers to finally operate their sustainable ecosystem and earn reasonably by providing chargeable content.

This achievement is important, as excellent journalism is a pillar of our societies. Citizens need reliable input to make reasonable decisions. That is impossible in the absence of professional news coverage. The absence of a sustainable business model for online news is a systemic risk.

The MulTra system is technically robust: The MTT solidity code and the smart contract got an immediate positive response from the Ethereum Community, 12,000 peers endorsed them immediately upon release.

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Article by Dr. Martin Bartels