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You cannot be serious!

Are Newspapers getting serious? I think yes.

I’ve seen some activity in the industry, new divisions, new people, all of which is the engine for new ideas.

There’s been more than a few revolutions in the last few hundred years; I think of them more like evolutions, needed change that just happens. It is often violent with some winners and some losers. Some that live on to see a new life and some that die and go extinct.

It comes down to one simple thing, is their a willingness to change, evolve into not only something that will survive, but something that will thrive.

Arguably, evolution is constant, every second, every hour, every …you get the point.

Business evolution is often cyclical (and sometimes cynical), caused by an event or by a disruptive technology…need proof? read this Innovator’s Dilemma

Let’s list the “Content” models of the past and the disruptive technology that followed.

1. Town Crier – Seriously…this is how people got their news….Oyez, Oyez!

2. Printing Press – Consistent, repeatable process, Town Criers everywhere cry.

3. Paperboy – Young boys, on bikes being chased by dogs.

4. Radio – AM > FM > XM

5. TV – Broadcast > Cable > Satellite

6. Internet – enough said.

What is most interesting is the shift in the technology disruption towards the demand side…the user. No longer do publishers have control..they are wrestling with it, legal fees, contracts, partnerships, but demand side continues to rule.

Made your content premium? someone else made it free. Made people register, someone else didn’t. Censor things a bit too much? someone else won’t.

Think about what TIVO did for TV. Some thought it was a digital called DVR. But it is something different, subtly different to those publishers too busy to see it, it lets the USER define what it wants…by subject, by keyword, by you name it. This is not your fathers VCR, too difficult to program to record even one show.

Really think about this a second…what is the difference between a VCR and DVR…get past the “technology” and think about the shift in power from the supply the demand side.

Here’s what I know…the advertising model is now Upside Down…and the reaction by advertisers is be more creative, more specific, more everything. More = money.

Continued “reaction” to this disruption pushes things towards a commodity marketplace, lowering the ROI of both creation of content and advertising.

What’s a publisher to do? Think about the user, focus on serving the long-tail of demand both on the content side AND advertising side. Individual users are silently screaming about what they want…the simple strategy is to give it to them.

What is NeXT? Permission based, content and advertising distribution networks.