Reinvent or Die

Seth has a thought-provoking post on the newspaper industry.  More people consume more news than ever, yet newspaper companies are dying.  Why is this? 

The answer is obvious:  Consumers of news moved online, but newspapers didn’t.  Instead, most newspapers chose to defend paper (the medium) rather than defending their ability to deliver the best news (the message).  They chose the wrong battleground.

To be fair, even the most forward-thinking newspaper — one that was willing to completely cannibalize its paper business — would have its hands full competing online.  Blogging and other forms of citizen journalism have fundamentally changed the way news is reported (not to mention the cost structure).  So maybe that industry was doomed — just like video killed the radio star, the Internet killed the morning paper.

Seth’s insight is this:  Think about the “trees” that you’re defending in your business.  These days, you constantly have to ask yourself how a start-up with no baggage could re-invent your industry.  How could new technologies and social trends disrupt your business?  If you don’t ask these questions, someone else will.

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2 thoughts on “Reinvent or Die

  1. I read (look at the) paper every morning. But I get my news on the web. Reading the paper is a habit. Reading on the web is for information. I do get some of my clues for the web from the paper though…. so let’s not discount that medium completely just yet. I think lots of people still love their paper. But when it’s not longer cost-effective to print papers, they will either die out or start charging YOU for the REAL cost of printing a paper rather their advertisers, right ?

  2. Lots of people still love their morning paper, but it’s a fact that newspaper subscriptions and revenues are declining and will continue to do so. And if they raise subscription prices it will only accelerate things.

    Paper as a medium still has its place (hard to beat a good hardback book) but it’s clear that the Internet is a better medium for news and the newspaper companies didn’t embrace this reality.

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