Local news and niche publishing wrapped in hyper-local advertising are the inevitable future of profitable media. Large publishing companies are going under with the weight of many mouths to feed and long, expensive distribution channels to get their messages to their readers’ coffee tables prevnext.co.uk . As the canopy opens on this space, nimble, smaller, even home based media businesses are sprouting.
How has this happened? I believe it is a combination of diminishing returns on the old ‘rivers of gold’ (once controlled by the big end of town), with the advent of a glut of media channels and technologies for new delivery models. The financial ‘backbone’ of traditional newspaper publishing was always the classifieds, real estate and automotive, along with per-copy purchase revenues. To start a newspaper or magazine you needed to already have a dozen other titles in the stable, invariably launched by your father’s father.
Then the internet hit. Initially the impact was minimal, but in the last few years as readers start looking elsewhere for their information, the industry has been whisked into a storm of panic. Suddenly Dear Dolly does not have all the answers. Suddenly the same news on the homepage of a $1.50 newspaper is available earlier online, with related links, videos and community opinion…for free!
When was the last time you bought a paper specifically to view classifieds, real estate or automotive listings, or to learn more about a news item someone mentioned in passing? How many of your friends subscribe to daily or even weekly delivery of a print newspaper? Now think of how many newsletters you and your friends subscribe to, or how quickly you get your news from online search engines, news websites or registered communities.