Charging for online news
Although news organisations are fierce competitors, there was an almost audible sigh of relief from most of them when Rupert Murdoch said that News Corporation would start charging for access to its online news sites.
It's not just that the worst advertising recession in living memory means that many newspaper groups are incurring losses.
It's that even after a fall for most of them of between 20% and 30% in their income this year from advertising, and even if the recession may be drawing to a close, they fear that there could be a further fall in revenue from that source over the next three years - simply because technological change is giving new options to advertisers for promoting their goods and services.
So if the costs of gathering news are to be met, a new source of income has to be found.
That said, no media group was desperately keen to be first to start charging for online news.
But once one media group charges, the chances are they all will.
The implications are significant, though not completely clear.
In particular, there are many different ways of charging: on a per day basis via micropayment; or on a subscription; or payment for one service or for a bundle of services, along the lines of Sky Television.
Rival media organisations may club together to form online consortia of news services: so, for example, the websites of competing newspapers would be available behind a single subscription wall, in the way that - right now - it's possible to subscribe to bundles of TV channels from competing providers.
Of course there are also implications for how commercial news groups will see the free online news service provided by the BBC.
It's probably no coincidence that last weekend the Sunday Times - owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - published an editorial claiming that the BBC News website represents unfair competition for news groups facing profound economic and technological pressures.
Personally I think this move is doomed to failure; even without the BBC there's plenty of free news out there, and some of it is decent quality. All they're going to do is drive their readers elsewhere.