Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Monday, February 19, 2007

Are Newspapers Dying?

The Internet is killing newspapers. It is not a sudden demise, but more a death of a thousand cuts -- loss of readers (eyeballs, in online lexicon), classified ads and subscriptions. Is there any way for newspapers to compete against Craig's List and the headlines-on-homepage habits of consumers?

One newspaper publisher in Norway found an answer, and makes piles of money online. It did have the advantage of moving fast online in a small market, quickly becoming a big fish in a small pond. But it also did other things right -- including, most importantly, re-inventing its business model and hiring managers from outside the newspaper business. It built or bought links with other publications. It started giving content away for free and moved its classified ads online.

There are lessons here for other newspapers, other businesses and even governments in how to adjust to life (and business) in an online world ...

1. New leadership and management is often needed -- people not tied to the organization's old business models. The Consumer is king, not your old business model.

2. Recognize that you are selling services more than content.

3. Trust remains a key asset. Consumers prefer to source information and services from people (and brands) they trust. This is especially true online given the amount of garbage and scammers on the Internet.

4. Use trust to get online visitors coming to you directly, and not just through a search engine. Partnerships linking you with other visited sites can help get visitors through your front door, as opposed to the back door via a search engine.

5. Keep costs down. Providing services online can be very profitable, provided you take advantage of the cost savings that business online allows.

Categories: consumers, media, Internet

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