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View Diary: Big Media's gambit to protect their profit margins (191 comments)

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  •  Physical distribution (0+ / 0-)

    It's sad and tragic that they aren't figuring out how to create new businesses.  As many people pointed out, the biggest thing they need to do is up their game and slash costs.

    I'm admittedly grasping at straws with the following alternative suggestion.  One thing that makes newspapers unique is physical distribution that bypasses the USPS or more expensive services.  It's not general-purpose delivery, but rather, a physical form of broadcasting unlike pretty much any other delivery mechanism.

    There's an old saying in computer science: "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes"  Basically, for every increase in bandwidth technology over wires and over the air, there's a proportional increase in the storage ability of physical media.

    Newspapers haven't taken advantage of this, but they could.  They could, for example, send out DVDs with ad-supported content in the Sunday paper (or the daily paper, for that matter), perhaps raising subscription prices or charging extra for papers+DVD.  It could be the "book on tape" version of the newspaper for people to listen to in their cars on the way to work.  The content wouldn't have to be "news"; it could be entertainment or whatever sells subscriptions.

    Regardless of whether or not this is workable, my main point is that the newspapers seem to be in denial about what makes them unique.  The ability to produce content: not it.  It's distribution.  The sooner they embrace this fact, the sooner they can start thinking about delivering something of higher value than the printed text on cheap paper with their distribution system.

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