Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Demise of the Printed Daily Newspaper

It is no secret that the traditional model of the daily newspaper is no longer functional. The "golden" age of print journalism -- when printed daily newspapers held a monopoly on the ability to deliver information to the consumer of news whenever the consumer wanted to access the information -- is over. While the news consumer could and did access information from the radio or television, nothing compared with the convenience of reading the newspaper when one wanted and without being at the whim of what order a radio/television news producer arranged news pieces.

This monopoly on accessing the attention of consumers enabled printed daily newspapers to charge very lucrative fees to other firms/organizations/individuals who wished to rent a part of the printed daily newspaper deliver mechanism to market to consumers.

The printed daily newspapers (PDN) has faced challenges to its monopoly of delivering information before (radio, television). While in the past the PDN was able to adapt and even grow stronger by eliminating evening editions and further consolidation it has never faced a challenger that attacks its core strength -- the ability to deliver information to the consumer on demand.

Yes, the fact that the Internet can deliver news to the consumer faster and cheaper certainly is a major factor in the demise of the PDN. However, radio delivers information to the consumer faster and cheaper and the newspaper has been able to survive -- and thrive -- in spite of this competition. The reason the Internet is destroying the PDN business model is because it does what radio cannot -- provide information to the consumer in a manner that empowers the consumer to decide what and when they access information/entertainment.


How soon will the PDN last? My not so bold prediction: at most four newspapers print seven days a week by the end of Obama's first term.

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