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Newspapers! Your PAY WALL is A Great Way to Drive Readers Away.
Will the Newspaper Business be here in 10 years?
Newspapers! Change Your Business Model or Disappear
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Many of you have probably seen this pop up on different newspaper sites on the internet when looking for articles. I use Google Alerts to find information on several topics that I write about, tweet, blog and add to my Facebook page or status. I’m bringing this to your attention because I think the old “NEWSPAPER SUBSCRIPTION” business model is DEAD! Newspapers are losing ground, advertisers and readers daily. For that matter, Print, is losing market share as a relevant influencing medium. Newspapers need to redefine who they are, who their “New” demographics are and how to reach their demographics on the internet. Like American Railroads, that concentrated on being good railroads missed great opportunities to grow expodentially over the years because they did not define themselves in the broader brush stroke of TRANSPORTATION. If their definition was transportation, they may be controlling air travel, busses and cruise ships today. They actually limited their growth because of the way they defined their industry in the more limited category of Railroad Company.
Newspapers, like many industries, have failed to stay up with technology, industry trends and more importantly trends in their core demographics and the next generation of potential customers. The Fair Industry is constantly aware of the next generation and targets the young 29 year old mother with kids. Why because it knows that parents bring their children to the Fair to experience the same great memories they had when their parents brought them to the Fair when they were young. The smell of the animals, hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn; the sounds of the rides, children laughing and screaming as they hang on for dear life on the Carnival Rides; the sounds of the midway barkers, the sight of all the blinking, moving lights, banners and flags all embed childhood memories that the new parent wants to share with their child. Newspapers, for the most part are trying to figure it out now; about 15 years too late.
Annys Shin wrote in a Washington Post article (Tuesday, May 3, 2005) that “Newspaper Circulation Continues to Decline” and that “Circulation at 814 of the nation’s largest daily newspapers declined 1.9 percent over the six months ended March 31 compared with the same period las year, an industry trade group reported yesterday.
“The decline continued a 20-year trend in the newspaper industry as people increasingly turn to other media such as the Internet and 24-hour cable news networks for information”. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2005/05/02/AR2005050201457.html
I use the articles I get online to include in the four daily online papers I publish. (I must say that the term “paper” really does not truly describe them correctly) Each article is tweeted, then retweeted. It then goes into the paper and tweeted again. That paper is then retweeted to anywhere between 85,000 to half a million people EVERY DAY. The article that I took from the paper always credits the Newspaper & the reporter or columnist it came from. If the newspaper has set up their Social Media correctly, the whole page shows up when someone clicks on the article in my tweets and/or posts. If I have to register and pay $12/month for full access after trying your paper for 30 for FREE, I won’t be back after my free trial period and neither will any of the internet readers that your paper has reached on any given day. Your paper is no longer the ONLY source of information from your City, Town or Village. I can just bypass your “Subscription” area and find another source for the same news. If your paper is shared across the internet, how many people will discover your town, city, village who never knew it existed? How can that affect your realtors, builders, CVB, etc. Are you sure you want to lose that ability to build awareness and create a higher profile for you community by requiring a subscription? REALLY?
You have to find a new business model to survive. Stop thinking printing presses, delivery people local geographic area, brick and mortar. Start thinking about who is going to read your paper (ONLINE). Start working on expanding your online influence. Ask yourself and your advertisers what you can do to help their business grow. Where is your revenue going to come from in this new world? Will people pay to have their own daily pages they contribute to each day or weekly, will people pay to advertise in a SAFE online environment free from scams and con men? If so how do you address that? I don’t remember who said it but the adage goes “find a niche and fill it” The newspaper of today is on life support and yet has some very valuable things they could do using their current talent pool that would work great in the “New” world of Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, Craig’s list, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ and many others.
Those Publishers, Editors and Newspapers that have the vision will survive; although they will look totally different from the way they look today.