Not long after the post below came along, Amazon just announced a new model of the Kindle which will directly take aim at newspapers with a bigger, more cumbersome design. If there’s anything the American consumer wants, it’s large, award hunks of metal. Just look at the success of Transformers!
The Kindle DX (which I can only assume stands for Dudes! Extreme!) holds more information, has a bigger screen, yadda yadda technical stuff. The point is, folks are serious about kicking print to curb, and not just the folks refusing to buy it, but the folks producing it. As of now, only the New York Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post (although with the Post you don’t really need anything else) are available on the Kindle, and if the below rumors are true, it looks like it’ll stay that way.
Just wait. Remember the 8-track vs. cassette duels? Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD? Sega vs. Nintendo? We’re going to have another format war on our hands, which will be lovely. Not only will it change the face of reporting forever (and hopefully it’ll be a profitable change that doesn’t destroy objectivity, but good luck with that) but it’ll give the media something else to talk about.
Published this morning…
Rupert Murdoch emerged from his cave (and stayed outside for a bit, since he didn’t see his shadow) and is now drawing resources from his vast media empire, in particular The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Sun, to create a new distribution method for news. Now, all of this comes from an annonymous source, so keep some reservations, but give the dire straits that journalism is in, it would make sense for one of the biggest media conglomerates around to try and institute a game-changing model.
Rumor has it that at the forefront of this model will be a new distribution device, a sort of bridge between print and the Internet. Now this will be sure to excite industry insiders, immediate speculation of a informative counterpart to the iPod and the Kindle is sure to arise, and it makes a good deal of sense. The costs of printing are immense, so if the news industry was able to create a piece of hardware that would perhaps use a subscription model to provide instantaneous news updates, there is perhaps quite a bit of money to be made.
But again, why would people want to do that? News is free on the Internet, and while there are some who would think that a magic electronic dohickey transporting news to them would be handy, the vast majority of people seem to be perfectly content breezing through CNN for a few minutes each day or just briefly scanning through Yahoo’s headlines.
The only way to revert to public to paying for news again is to create scarcity. Essentially, the news industry has to play the ace up its sleeve and perform blackmail. No more news unless you pay for it. Lock up the websites, emphasize subscriptions via the “Newsatron” (real name pending) and hope to the good lord above that customers value information enough to go along with this model and aren’t instead so put off that they abandon mainstream media sources. Which would, disasterously, make the likes of the bloggosphere the main sources of news. But, since 99 percent of news blogs just plunder their stories from mainstream media sources, blogs would be reduced to reporting outlandish heresay and rumor (much like Murdoc’s own FoxNews).