Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Internet passes newspapers

According to the latest Pew Research Center survey: more people, 40 percent, get their news from the internet rather than newspapers, 35 percent. Teevee news still leads the way with 70 percent, but that is down from a high of 82 percent.

So what does this mean?

For starters I wonder why so many newspapers are pulling back from the web and focusing their efforts on the print side, or as I now like to call it, the paper product. Why? Because that is where the advertising dollars are coming from. Because this is what they know.

So now we have a business model that is content to let its market share get smaller, ie. die off, knows where the audience is heading (clearly) and doesn’t want to change. Hmmmm.

So Mike, you are going to give us your big idea, right? The short-term answer is not what we are doing right now. The competitive advantage of a newspaper is that it can provide depth, analysis and perspective. So why make the paper product more like the web?

The major problem moving ahead for news organizations is how to market/fund/pay for local news that is comprehensive. Niche marketing and advertising is doing some amazing work around the country and globe, BUT, that depends on smaller slivers of the market that are highly energized or focused on something. So, depth comes from breadth. For local news the problem is that there is no depth to support breadth.

Moving away from monetization, the core problem is that society and what customers want have moved away from newspapers and their paper product. So what are news organizations going to do? They could and it looks like they will milk the cash cow until it is dry OR they might actually start to think about how to innovate and change to embrace the new platform for information delivery. Only time will tell.

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