These Got Me Wondering

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

What if you made a product that was wildly popular but your business wasn’t set up to make any money off of it?  Suppose that millions of consumers were using what you made but because they were doing so in a manner different from what you had built your business to support, you were going bust?  I think you know where I’m heading with this but let’s just make sure.

Here’s a piece that caught my eye this morning:

According to a new comScore release, more than 123 million Americans visited newspaper sites in May, representing 57% of the total U.S. Internet audience, as the New York Times Brand led the category with more than 32 million visitors and 719 million pages viewed during the month. The average visitor viewed 22 pages of content on the New York Times. Tribune Newspapers ranked second in terms of audience with 24.8 million visitors, followed by Advance Internet and USA Today Sites.

Then there was this last week:

The company found that $119.6 billion, or 32.5% of the planned 2010 U.S. ad spending of $368 billion, is destined for digital media. The 30.3% going to print advertising is lower by more than $8 billion.

Most analysts agree that the primary reason for the digital shift is the ability to track marketing efforts more precisely.

So why this insistence in paper and ink?  Well, there are a lot of legacy consumer such as me who like to read the print version.  But why not figure out a way to rebuild the business model around the digital dissemination instead of around the legacy method?  How much does it cost to print the newspapers I’m sent every day?  Is it possible that at some point the margin on having me consume it digitally gets the business to a point where it’s easier to get your legacy print customers to switch?  Buy them all Kindles or iPads – offer them one with a 5 year paid subscription if they agree NOT to take a print copy.

Someone brighter than me can figure out the numbers but is anyone asking the questions?  Are you about your business?

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1 Comment

Filed under Consulting, digital media

One response to “These Got Me Wondering

  1. Mister Reiner

    Like you, I enjoy reading hard copy more than bits. It’s portable, it’s usually lying around somewhere and I don’t have to worry about carrying around some stupid device – or that it will get stolen, damage or lost.

    When digital paper becomes thin and disposable (cost wise), hard copy print as we know it will make an enormous comeback.

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