Newspapers still seem to have trouble squaring off with the Web. They don’t seem to understand that, for a new generation of readers, consuming news online when it breaks and where it can be continuously updated, linked and enhanced with multimedia is useful, convenient and relevent to how they live. Why would they want it any other way?
Owen Thomas, Gawker’s Valleywag blogger covering tech and the Web, argues as much in a post here. Thomas notes that newspapers seem to be all about the new Kindle, pinning their hopes in a new Kindle-like device specfically designed for newspapers.
Is this a bad idea? You bet, Thomas says:
What are the publishers really proposing? Taking a product available for free on the Web, dumbing it down, and then charging for it. News without links, comments, or video, in black and white, updated once a day? In an age when print media ought to be learning to do more with less, they are instead fixated on getting customers to pay more for less.
There is one prospective market for this: The old, who may be so attached to printed media that they will accept an electronic substitute. Hearst digital chieftain Phil Bronstein, the former San Francisco Chronicle editor, told Maureen Dowd that the industry’s best hope was that people would live longer, so those trained to read newspapers will stick to the habit.
The obvious converse of Bronstein’s feeble hope: The young will never learn to read newspapers and magazines again, having grown up reading online. Why would they switch to a product like the Kindle?
Exactly. Why would I buy a Kindle for newspapers when newspaper content online is so much more compelling and useful?
I agree with Thomas: “What newspapers and magazines need to do is obvious: Build appealing websites, and sell them better.”
But hey, I could be wrong. Is there a place in the new newspaper business model for a Kindle-esque device? Let me know in comments.
Filed under: business, Internet, music, Newspapers | Tagged: advertising, Amazon, business, Gawker, Internet, Kindle, Maureen Dowd, Newspapers, Owen Thomas, Phil Bronstein, San Francisco Chronicle, tech, Valleywag, Web | 3 Comments »