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Newspaper of the Future Questions

We’re about a week away from Apple unveiling a tablet computer, and the New York Times to announce some payment option.  There’s so many questions surrounding how the news industry will survive.  Online ad revenue is not supporting the news websites.  This leaves us with subscription service platforms like iTunes and Amazon to provide these services for traditional print news.  This leaves me with a lot of questions.

  • If all newspaper websites go to subscription services, will inbound linking diminish to a trickle?
  • Will news organizations police all blogs and social platforms for usage infringement of their material?
  • Will torrents play a role in distributing news like it did with the music and movie industry?
  • Will newspapers, magazines, and  local TV news start to look identical in product?  Newspapers with more video / TV with more writing

It seems pretty clear devices like the Apple Tablet, netbooks, and even future eReaders will provide a platform and distribution system for delivering rich content and experience, but does the newspaper industry have the chops to provide a product worth paying for again?

  • http://www.connectme360.com connectme360

    As one of the first guys to predict the Apple iPad (and if you read my post, I think I got an awful lot right) – I've had about 2 years to think about these issues.

    (1) So long as there are advertising revenues, inbound linking will not be permitted to slow.

    (2) The notion of “policing” will change, and yes, automated tools like 80legs will crawl the web, automatically, assisting news organizations in ferreting out infringing uses.

    (3) Torrents will go the way of RSS – that is, they will be used, but the early grandiose vision of torrents will fade as content distribution networks find more apropos ways of incorporating ginormous media files into news streams.

    (4) In the short run, newspapers, magazines and local TV news will diverge as newsrooms stop using web technology purchased from the same pool of vendors and start using technologies that reflect the strengths of their newsrooms. For example, magazines are creating proprietary publication technologies using Adobe AIR while local TV news lean on vendors like Freewheel to extend their video capabilities.

    As far as your last question – I'd rephrase it as, does the newspaper industry have the courage to retain the talent that makes them unique? The challenge of the 21st century is about scaling ambition, not scaling stuff. Newspapers are so focused on metrics like circulation that they are almost certainly going to cede ground – and mindshare – to more ambitious rivals who are even today asking themselves the right questions.

    http://connectme.typepad.com/news/2008/07/insid…

  • taulpaul

    Brian,

    Thanks for your insight. I believe we are a long way from newspapers not relying on ad revenue, so I completely agree with you on that point.

    I can see a initial backlash to the practice of news orgs hunting down their content, which may usher a change fair use policy.

    Interesting take on torrents. Maybe it will become a household name and technology.

    Point 4 is what interests me the most today. Will the platform dictate the packaging of content? I believe in the short-term, the answer will be yes.

  • http://twitter.com/amazingamanda Amanda Congdon

    I want to use my whole hand like Elle!

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