What’s the business in news nowadays?

newspaper_imageThere’s an ongoing discussion in- and  outside Norway. The invention of  Internet has challenged how to run a newspaper, media- and publishing  house.
Sales of papers are dropping, so  is the advertiser’s budgets. The  willingness to pay for news on the net  seems like zero. The profit in the business is decreasing. And everyone is wondering what to do?

UPDATE: PPT presentation of this posting at Slideshare.net
Rupert Murdock wants to let people pay for news online. I don’t think he will be successful. Others want to keep news online short, superficial and written”for web” whereas the analogue paper should develop into more “deep digging journalism”. Some believe that the internet isn’t suited for “real critical journalism” This is proven wrong as well.

So the question remains; where is the business in news nowadays? News (in any channel and/or media) has had its basis in ownership to the content. Internet challenges this because the sharing of content is so rapid, and so fluid that you can’t have a story for yourself anymore. The monopoly is gone.

The “old triangle”

The news content and the creation of it, enabled a news organisation to gather a crowd of readers/listeners/ viewers. This gave the business model of selling the paper, subscriptions, classified and not to forget – ads.  But remember the core value has always been the ownership of the content. The connections between content, readers and advertisement has never been strong, because it has never been necessary to develop strong connections between the elements in this triangle.

A“new triangle”?

What if the content isn’t the real value for a media house anymore? Well it isn’t! That’s why media and news organisations now have the decreasing income both in the analogue and the digital environment. Some suggestions have been “go hyper local” become “niche news” I think both are great ideas, but it’s not enough, due to the fact that the idea of what is the core “ownership” haven’t changed into something of real value.

The business needs to have a foundation in a real, functional business model. On the internet there is one business model that is established, and that remarkably enough already is at work also with in the area of journalism, and media, but without the news organisations taking advantage of it – not yet. By deciding that content is no longer the core value, but the sum of participants (and their activities) in the environment is! Social media gather people; their participation creates content and feed journalism in totally new manners, and the connections are already shown to be able to be close, and strong.

Businesses like My space, Facebook, Twitter and so forth has it’s value in the amount of active members. The value of the knowledge about users has barely started to be explored, and for the news and media business this is a unique opportunity to dig deeper into this.

What if the real value for the news and media industry is seen to be the knowledge about the interactive and action oriented behaviour of Participants (readers/users)? I believe that one can connect participants, content and advertisement in far better ways that clarify and justify: what’s in it for me for all involved parties. Or, in other words “what’s the purpose?” can be better answered for all involved parties. (see also the blog posting below)


2 Responses to “What’s the business in news nowadays?”

  1. Geir –

    As you and I discussed last week, I agree with your assessment on the fundamental change of the value proposition – from owning content to enabling meaningful information in context – as defined by the participants at any particular time and place.

    To make that happen, we need a fundamental change in our information systems, and how we create information in the first instance. That is my primary focus now. And, I think we are making progress on the outline of a solution.

    More to come!


  2. Thanx for the comments Chuck. Based upon our discussions we have had I think you really are setting up the right conditions and have the right mix of strategies and tools to get things moving into a tactical and executional level. I’m looking very much forward to see the progress as it happens.


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