Print ad sales are dying and real journalism is tough to find these days. Newspaper publishers are failing to make the transition to online with their revenue intact because people are getting their news online. The companies either don't know how to or refuse to change with the times. They need to get it through their head that nobody pays for the paper anymore. Advertisers however, will still pay for a high traffic website, especially a local one.
In short, the newspaper is dead. In the words of Dwight Schrute, it's deader than anything that has ever died. Even though he left the company a bit of a mess, Eisner once brought a dying Disney back to life. Maybe...just maybe he can do something with the Tribune if they finally figure out that the old way just doesn't work anymore.
Mr. Potter writes: Print ad sales are dying and real journalism is tough to find these days.
I Respond: All of the papers now have news websites.
Irony: The Orlando Sentinel website has a section called the 'Daily Disney.'
Having a "website" isn't enough. People actually have to want to visit the site and read it. Now that it's online, it's also free, so the traffic has to be such that the ad space is really worth something. One method would be to charge for online content, but most people won't pay for something if they can get it for free. The site better be really good and engaging, otherwise most people will just log on to their favorite national news source for the low cost of nothing.
I can view a paper's website from my ipod no matter where I- and it's not yesterday's news. We want to know right now what is going on... the microwave generation. Papers are far more in depth and insightful... sadly, today that is apparently not as important as speed...
i am not sure my grade school nieces and nephews even know first hand what a newspaper is. It's something they've seen on tv or in theory. That is how you know it's dead. The next generation will have no use for a newspaper. As it is, when my 3 year old nephew wants to see Cars or Thomas, he asks me to look it up 'online'. They KNOW what that means. hmmm- i wonder if they've ever seen VHS.
i don't know what Eisner could do other than gut the dead flesh and keep what's working... or revamp and reposition the online structure... it will be interesting to watch
I Respond: I don't believe the websites would "save the sinking ships." Rather I believe the websites will continue to operate regardless of the inevitable fate of the papers.
While there is now a transitional period (mostly do to the divide between the "online generation" and the "paper generation) the only way they survive long term is by making their websites better and more in depth aka better than the newspaper. I think that these companies can survive, even though it would probably be on a smaller scale.
Otherwise, given my past history with Tribune and with Eisner - I'm staying out of this one! :-)
First, if Michael Eisner can make the Tribune Co. profitable again, more power to him. I think he had a mixed record at Disney, doing some good things and some not so good things. As far as traditional newspapers go, like any media outlet, content is king. Therefore, were editors to focus on delivering high quality content to readers on the platforms they expect, both readers and revenue would return.
Why isn't it happening now?
Newspaper companies rely heavily on consultants to shape the direction of the content that's placed inside their pages. These "experts," however, don't have a clue what readers really want to see. So newspapers -- just like their TV competition -- have spent more time and money chasing fluffy feel-good stories and celebrity junk than concentrating on keeping our citizens informed. It's certainly cheaper to cover celebrity or crime news, but it provides little to no value for readers. That's why newspapers (with one or two exceptions) and TV stations (both local and national) have lost credibility with readers (and viewers) and have watched a steady decline in their business fortunes. The internet may have played a small role in this decline, but not much. Content is king in this business – not how it’s delivered.
Is there still a demand for quality journalism in 2010? Absolutely! How can I tell? Smart businessmen are still making fortunes delivering provocative, must-read, must watch/listen to content. Just two examples:
(1) Twenty or so years ago, radio was dying and no one knew how to revive the oldest electronic mass communications medium. However, one clever guy had an idea: What if I build a show around commentating on today's news? I think there's a market for this. He was right, and Rush Limbaugh -- love him or hate him – found millions of listeners and made hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, blame Rush for the tide of news/talk radio stations that have covered our land.
(2) About the same time Limbaugh got his start, another enterprising individual saw the need to deliver high-quality business news in real time. Long considered too stuffy and boring for a general audience, Michael Bloomberg saw a golden opportunity to deliver high-quality business news content to news outlets that were, at best, not delivering the compelling content that added value to readers’ understanding of the companies they worked for or invested in. Bloomberg News made the current mayor of New York City a billionaire, and added value to every newspaper, radio and TV station that subscribed to its content feeds by delivering context behind the daily business headlines.
Are newspapers dead? I sure don't think so. I think they're just waiting for business leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit to rethink how to deliver the most compelling content to their readers.
I Respond: Actually the diffference is unlike websites producing a daily newspaper is an expensive and labor intensive process -- there are printing presses, the union workers to run them, the large buildings and utilities to operate them, expenses for paper and ink and trucking costs.
But I certainly could be wrong. Perhaps you have a qualified, independent source published somewhere that indicates the cost for running a newspaper is the same as the cost of running a newspaper associated website.
From Wikipedia: "Tribune Interactive, another subsidiary, manages the interactive operations of major daily newspapers such as Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times and their associated websites. Its national network sites owned with partners include CareerBuilder.com, Cars.com, Apartments.com and Topix.net. With more than 50 websites overall, Tribune Interactive ranks among the nation’s leading news and information networks. The sites attract more than 20 million unique visitors per month."
Eisner is back.
"An announcement on the former Disney CEO becoming the chairman of the Tribune Co., is imminent, a person familiar with the talks has told TheWrap.
“Right now, it’s going to be Eisner,” the person said. "The lenders are going to try to take the company. It's the only way they are going to get some of their money. But they're not ready yet."
Eisner's guardian angel in negotiations is his close friend John Angelo, one of the creditors who are poised to take control of the company from the current board of directors and management.
The announcement could come as early as next week, after the Labor Day holiday, the person said.
“Eisner is in the Old Media-to-New Media transformation business, that's why the creditors are talking to him,” the individual said. “They need a good old American guy, a face, a guy who can deal with bankers and convince them that he can get the company out of trouble. A lot of people involved think Eisner is that guy.”