Newspapers Must Die!
I wrote this on some other site regarding trying to save the New York Times and obviously impressed myself:
This seems like a classic case of Clayton Christensenâ€™s â€œdisruptive innovationâ€ overwhelming a traditional business model. An old-school enterprise has to maintain its old-school practices in order to keep its reliable cash cow alive. As soon as they try to switch up what theyâ€™re doing, they risk starving the cow and having nothing to show for it. Shareholders wonâ€™t stand for *that*. The problem comes when people start overwhelmingly preferring soy milk and youâ€™re entirely invested in dairy cattle. At that point the gameâ€™s just over and your job is to maintain your dignity and go out as a good loser.
I donâ€™t see the benefit of expending energy to â€œsave newspapersâ€. People want news, others want to provide it, but why does the NYT (or any other old-model business) need to profit from the exchange? Organizations are what they are and when they try to change their DNA, they usually fail (like when United Airlines decided they were more than just an airline and bought Hertz and Westin and started calling themselves â€œAllegisâ€). If an organization doesnâ€™t start out with adaptation and evolution at its core, it risks getting innovated out of existence by better, later substitutes.
From a business perspective, I think the best course of action for the daily newspapers is to downscope in order to stay profitable as long as possible and when the reaper finally comes for them (next year?), be dignified enough to just curl up by the fire and quietly pass on. Iâ€™m guessing, instead, of course, theyâ€™ll start lobbying congress to keep them on life support and prop up their antiquated models and then weâ€™ll all get to endure story after story on NPR about how society is toilet-bound due to the struggles of major newspapers. Or I suppose I could just turn the radio off.