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Friday, February 13, 2009

Canwest can't

Sell off some TV stations, shut down some community papers, file for bankruptcy protection, but please don't kill the National Post.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 13, 2009 in Media | Permalink


All and I mean all print newspapers will go under. The fact is that almost nobody under 40 subscribes to a newpaper anymore because you can get all your news for FREE on handheld devices and personal computers.

They must all reinvent themselves or die. When venerable papers such as the Chicago Sun-Times declare Chapter 11, when papers such as the NY Times avoid it with last minute investment by misled investors, you know their day is over.

The National Post is finished. So is the Globe. It is just a matter of telling them how long they have to live be it months or a few years. They are all done unless they figure out how to make a dollar off web based content.

The same is true for TV. Web based broadcast interface with flat screen digital TV is here. This will spell the end of the stand alone TV station. TV execs know this already. Will they respond or just stand pat long enough to retire with a golden parachute like all the others before them.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-02-13 1:14:36 PM

Simple (and possibly naive question): why are we unwilling to pay for web content? We don't expect to get the paper for free at the local newsagents, yet we refuse to stump up for good journalism online.

Posted by: Craig | 2009-02-13 1:58:38 PM

Errmmm. Where did you say that "good journalism" was again?

There is a business model that will work. Because there are no printing and distribution costs, the ability to provide content over the web is now much less expensive and is immediately current. When I buy a newspaper, what I am buying is a history book because almost every article will have been updated. I am also buying inky fingers and a big mess which is a real pain to either throw out or recycle.

But when I view web content, I am still consuming advertising. Newpapers have to do a better job selling advertising. And web based advertising can be much less cheaper to produce than paper advertising. The audience is global not local. And the advertising is much more interactive via web links for more info. I can't click on a newspaper ad to get more info. Advertisers know this and that's why they are abandoning newspapers in droves along with their high consuming digitally conversive under-40 customers.

If you ask me online papers and advertising are better for everyone.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-02-13 2:15:46 PM

I agree with much of what you say Epsi but I still like to hold my news in my hand. I also find it faster to go through a paper than to use the computer but than may be just my age showing through.

Posted by: DML | 2009-02-13 9:50:27 PM

Betcha still gots the old rotary dial phone too, eh old fellah!

Giggles! Just teasing!

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-02-13 10:33:37 PM

As biased as the main stream media is, I'd hate to see newspapers disappear. When newspapers do their work properly, they do things like cover municipal governments, city council meetings, etc. They often report on "non-sexy" stories that need to be covered, which bloggers eschew as not being "interesting" enough.

Looking at many political blogs, for example, lends credence to this idea. Often, they offer commentary on what is reported in the media. We usually don't see either original reporting that breaks news or reports on something that is seriously underreported in the press. You'd have to have really dedicated and skilled bloggers to make up for that.

We need exact online replacements for what newspapers do before shrugging off their demise. I'd say we're not quite there yet.

Posted by: Rick Hiebert | 2009-02-14 8:13:22 AM

....because you can get all your news for FREE on handheld devices and personal computers.
Posted by: epsilon | 2009-02-13 1:14:36 PM

Nothings free.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-02-14 8:48:44 AM

True. Nothing is free. But competition and innovation is about providing an existing product or service at lower cost or with greater features.

This is why web based content will triumph. More for less.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-02-14 5:23:23 PM

People can get their news in real time now and the web has made the news more liberating and its exciting as our planet has now a very small place. I will miss the paper as there is something about the touch and how you get to sit back and spread it out before you as you take in the days events as a different than the web. I imagine there will be downsizing for sure but hopeful the daily don't disappear as this is one reader who would be greatly saddened by the event.

Posted by: Colleen | 2009-02-15 4:36:00 PM

Oh, no! I didn't receive delivery of my National Post this morning. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

Posted by: Terry O'Neill | 2009-02-16 9:52:49 AM

The National Post a paper for the right by the right that failed as a business. I guess Harper can hire all the staff as right thinking federal employees to tell Canadians how to create wealth and business as right thinking Canadians. Blind leading the blind. maybe Harper should look at those failed northern european states as models for business leadership.

Posted by: donnie mcleod | 2009-02-16 8:28:45 PM

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