Misunderstanding The Importance Of Cannibalizing Your Own Products

from the hello-competitors dept

Obviously, it’s painful to see your core product and cash cow being supplanted by other offerings — but if that’s what’s happening, it’s because your customers like that other offering better. If that’s the case, aren’t you better of cannibalizing your own business? If your customers are going to go elsewhere, they might as well go to another offering from you. Too many companies don’t seem to get this message. The latest in this long line appears to be a large Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang, that has decided that since their online version appears to be taking business away from their paper version, they’re going to keep lots of content offline. This is going to backfire, badly. Basically, they’re giving their users less in an attempt to get them to come back to the paper version. All that’s likely to do is encourage them to simply move to completely other sources that don’t have this kind of policy.

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Comments on “Misunderstanding The Importance Of Cannibalizing Your Own Products”

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dorpus says:

At least they're open

All the newspapers I’ve seen in the USA do have stuff that they’ll print only in the paper version.

I think there is still a market for credible, professional written news. Mainstream news organizations (as we know them) can still survive if they improve their journalistic standards, to a level that only the pros can offer. Techdirt wouldn’t happen to be such a business, would it?

TJ says:

I agree with Mike

My local newspaper withholds news items from their web site until about 12 hours after they are delivered in the print version. So the web version is always stale news. Since I’m not into a daily delivery of news on dead trees, I tend to only skim headlines at their site and get most area news from a nearly town paper’s web site. The local paper not only doesn’t get $7 a month from me anymore, they get few ad impressions to boot. Considering that newsprint is gradually dying along with its core subscribers, not a bright strategy.

thecaptain says:

Re: I agree with Mike

I’m with Mike also.

Our local paper (the almost ONLY source of local news online) had a decent website. The major headlines, a few columns and a few “previews” of what’s in the print edition (incidentally, a few times, those previews were enough to get me to buy the printed edition that day). It wasn’t much, but it was enough.

Then they switched to ad-driven subscriptions with NOTHING free. If you don’t subscribe, you get the headline and a 2 line summary of the article/column and a ‘subscribe here’ link. If you do subscribe (I know a clueless moron who does) and in the member’s only there’s even MORE ads! On TOP of that, the subscription is 17$ A MONTH!!! That’s more than most dial-up accounts around here!

Since then, no webclicks from me and no deadtree purchases either.

drivedog says:

finally, a place to complain about this

The most classic example of backfiring of which I can think is what Lotus did with Improv. Instead of marketing the new product, which without further enhancement would still be light years ahead of Excel, they shelved it because of the danger of cannibalizing their cashcow, 1-2-3. If they’d pushed Improv instead, then combined with WordPro (they renamed Ami Pro when they bought it), perhaps they could’ve challenged MS Office.

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