Why (and how) the newspaper industry’s problem might be yours next


There’s no reason newspapers should be in the trouble they’re in.  After all, they provide an incredible service that’s still in high demand.  Most of us want to better understand the world around us.  But as issues become more and more complicated, there’s a huge market for individuals and organizations to help interpret that complexity into content we can more readily access and understand.

Newspapers don’t have to be in trouble right now.  Printed newspapers, now that’s a problem.  But the information being created, that still has a lot of value. Newspaper Web sites are growing in traffic.  Hyperlocal news sites are only accelerating in volume and readership.  Our demand and consumption of news continues to accelerate.  The news business is doing great.

I was at a conference recently with a large group of brand advertisers, the kind who traditionally have relied on the 30-second television advertisement to survive.  A common theme with this group is that television is broken, that it doesn’t work as an advertising vehicle, and that we need to fix it.

One brave panelist, however, begged to differ.  Television has never been so strong.  The amount of time we’re spending with our televisions is only increasing. As an entertainment medium, it’s doing quite well thank you.  As an advertising vehicle, it’s clearly breaking.

How your audience defines value might be completely at odds with how you think you should be able to monetize that opportunity.  And what your audience will pay for today may change completely tomorrow.

Cling to the past for too long and you might be left standing with nothing.  But that doesn’t mean your customers have gone away.  They’re just getting what they want, what you used to provide, somewhere else.  So why aren’t you there already?  And what, now that it’s today, are you going to do about it?