Preparing For The Future… Or Just Clinging To The Past?

from the gotta-cannibalize-the-old-business-to-get-on-with-the-new dept

It’s completely natural for companies in changing marketplaces to look for ways to protect their existing cash cows — but it makes for a dangerous long term strategy. Here’s another example from the newspaper industry. While not everyone agrees that newsprint is going away, all of the talk about putting up pay walls for the online versions of newspapers or keeping certain content only in the print edition is all about trying to artificially boost the appeal of the paper version in relation to the digital version. That’s backwards. As new studies are showing, many in the younger generation of today won’t take a newsprint subscription even if it’s free. Not only do they not find it an efficient way to get and read the news, they get upset at the growing pile of newsprint in their homes. It makes them feel guilty for not reading it. It’s a psychological barrier that free subscriptions and exclusive content will never get over. Instead, news organizations should be working on ways to better attract users to their digital editions, which means providing them what they want — not making it harder for them to get what they want.

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Comments on “Preparing For The Future… Or Just Clinging To The Past?”

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acousticiris (user link) says:

Free Newsprint is OK

I recently purchased a house and was shocked to find out that there are two local papers that deliver their product directly to my door at no charge.
The local “Free Edition” paper provides me with good, quick “bathroom reading” where lugging a laptop around would be quite uncomfortable, not to mention unsanitary.
Sure, I have to read about how in the “crime” section of the paper, some fella up the road saw footprints in the snow near the vicinity of his Gas Meter (no joke!). And someone believes they had a rake stolen from their garage (in the middle of January). But it’s free, small enough to stuff in a drawer and something to do while I’m passing … ahem … time.
But I’m a Gen-Xer. I would never buy a subscription to something I can (legally) get for free…especially to a newspaper printing information from yesterday. And it is quite cumbersome that just at the point you get to the meat of the article on the front page you have to skip through this utterly inconvenient large-format paper to section D page 16. By the time you’re done half of the paper is on the floor and you’re clinging onto the corner of one sheet just trying to get through the article.
Seriously, when was the last time you saw a newspaper at a coffee shop that you could even *attempt* to read after someone else had fiddled through it. I much prefer to click than shuffle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Free Newsprint is OK

Newspapers have at least one advantage over digital media– they’re permenant (or at least tangible).
I’ve had a few experiences with CNN where I would read an article and think “hey that’s great”, forward it to someone and then after they ask me, “what?” return to the article to discover that all of the good bits have been removed or reworded.
The Internet is the Ministry of Information.

thecaptain says:

No Subject Given

I agree with the above poster when he says that a laptop is a bit too bulky for “bathroom reading”.

However since picking up a Palm Tungsten E (frankly any PDA I think would do), I LOVE reading on it and can’t get enough…I have hundreds of books (some free, some purchased and some pirated) and I’ve always thought that it would be neat to have news kiosks where you could have the day’s edition “beamed” to your PDA for reading.

I think it would be worth it to me to just walk up, maybe put in a quarter in the coin slot and have the machine beam over a file…simple, efficient and cheap.

chunkyasparagus says:

Re: Newspaper wins on efficiency

I too have a PDA which I love and basically can’t live without, but I can’t agree that’s the most “simple efficient and cheap” way to get the news. Even if you have a laptop with a much bigger screen and a broadband connection, it takes much longer to browse a site and find articles of interest. It may not be the most up-to-date, but for now the newspaper remains the best way to scan and read a very large amount of information in a short space of time.

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