By admin | June 17, 2009
So, the newspaper industry is dying. The owners are squealing, the advertisers are fleeing the sinking fleet streets and the journo’s are cowering discreetly behind their pc screens wondering who is going to pay them a living. All the while, piles of old growth carbon laced newsprint is composting faster than the leaves in a forest. News is dying, long live the News! I’m sure you’ve heard of the newspaper industry demise, but should you care?
Probably not, news is not that easy to hide from in this electronic age! What amazes me most is that the so called empire builders of the past era like Murdoch and his buddies are bleating like sheep with blinkers lost in the wilderness at night… ”oh what will happen to the free world without us?”, ”Oh what can we do if no one wants to pay us anymore?” I mean really! Leaders of the world of free enterprise? They’ve all become soft and dull in their over paid old age.
New Markets await! New means of distribution are beckoning. New ways of attracting those pretty pennies are already chinking on the digital front lawns in every suburb! Have you really no clue how to get those cash registers chiming again? I thought you were supposed to be intelligent, ahead of the pack and media savvy? Think beyond the square, backroom boys and girls. It was all so easy in the past, find some news, get a journo to make it read well and look good, find some advertisers, buy some paper and print the sucker! You didn’t have to worry if anyone would buy it, the public had no choice… and in any case you could always do some furtive little deals with your political and business buddies to keep all your pockets well fed. Well perhaps that part hasn’t changed too much, but you can be sure the rest has!
Ok, that’s enough of the media mogal bashing, lets get down to tin tacks and newpaper racks. Back in the early 90′s when the internet was forming I was a digital media consultant (still am I think lol) I was asked to consult to a large newspaper publisher. They wanted to know how the internet was going to affect their industry and how they could prepare for it. I held up a vision to them that made their eyeballs wobble in their sockets. I told them that within the next 20 years the paper news print would become redundant. That new newspapers would be online, that people would be able to click on advertisements and be transported directly to the advertisers site, that all newspapers would use electronic content management systems to make their newspapers and most of their news sources would come in over the net and simply be rewritten, formatted and re distributed.
Yeh, I know everything looks correct in hindsight! But this is a true story and it was in 1995. Well, you should have seen the looks on their faces! They sat back with a mixture of shock, horror and virtual disbelief. The meeting lasted 3 hours, at the end they thanked me with a cool courtesy and a look like they had just spoken to the devil. They walked out the door and in my innocence I felt sure they would be calling me with a large contract within weeks. I never heard from them again. 4 years later they amalgamated their morning and evening papers into one and produced a small tabloid format. 8 years later, the whole operation went into liquidation and officially died.
Why was it so hard for them to accept? Did I tell them their journo’s were crap? or that people were sick of news? of course not! People consume news more than ever and journalists skills and worth are just as highly valued as they ever were. So what’s gone wrong? Why are the jobs for journo’s shrinking when there is more news accessibility, sources and access than ever before? What’s wrong with this picture?
In a couple of words… Cost and Distribution! you either evolve or you become extinct. Yes, I know, I know, that sounds obvious! Yes publishers are not so stupid that they don’t understand their own business and markets and many are fiercely online now too. But they are still bleating that they can’t get anyone to buy their services and advertising revenue isn’t enough to pay the very real costs of gathering, writng and distributing their newspaper online or off!
Well, thnk about what I said, cost and distribution, then think outside the square (way outside, no not twitter you twit!). Think how you distribute and most importantly think how the user gets your paper and reads your news… (please stay away from the bleeding obvious like put it on an SDRAM!) and when you’ve done that… Call me! I’m not so stupid the second time round either that I’m going to give you the answer in a free blog or even for a highly paid 3 hour consultation fee. When you’re ready, call me… I’ve seen the future, that’s my job and I’m bloody good at it and I know what’s coming and how you publishers are going to need to deal with it. There is another fortune waiting to be made and everyone involved in the industry is going to love the solution and the result! Chew on that one Rupert!
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