Recently Josh Tolley presented a great solution to the problem newspapers are having to survive. Its a good idea that’s also practical and easy to understand. Basically it goes like this, the reason why newspapers are loosing to the internets is that they are publishing their content on the web. Think about it for a second. Do you think it helps a newspaper by publishing its articles on the internet?
This idea caught my attention because I am in the solutions business. However, to solve a problem you must first identify and understand the problem.
In addition to what Josh said I would add the fact that the newspapers produce less and less original content. Once they were put on a flat competition surface online their “brand” uniqueness became obsolete. Think about it if there are 200 newspapers all printing the same AP or REUTERS story then obviously the duplicates cancel each other out.
So I think this piece of it is a very big part of the problem along with the fact that the newspapers even in their original produced content remain status quo Joe way too much. If they really started to run stories on some of the outrageousness that is our day to day life then their subscriber base would flourish. Quality is not something you can ever negotiate on AND be successful long term. Think about your favorite resturant that you stopped going to because they cut back on quality. This is my second reason why the newspapers are failing.
The biggest point that I agree with JT on is the solution. Basically he says the newspapers are missing an opportunity by publishing exclusive content and then advertising about it on the radio. This is a great idea. Here’s how it could work.
Ex: Acme Newspapers wants to stay in business. So they make a deal with one of their remaining direct advertisers “Big mattress company”. The newspaper and the advertiser agree to run an ad on the radio featuring a story in the paper. The story will include a coupon or special discount code that a customer needs to get the special price.
Imagine this radio ad “Thursday Exclusive: The daycare safety report sponsored by Big Mattress Company, exclusive in the Acme News Thursday edition get a 35% off coupon – must have coupon for discount”
The advertiser and the newspaper would both benefit in this scenario and they would share the total cost of advertising. What do you think?