Posted on 2013-Aug-07
Crown Jewels of Newspapers
Turning a blind eye to Jeff Bezos’ critical and immediate action to buy one of the most well-known newspapers run by a single family for several decades is nearly impossible. Touted as one of the crown jewels of newspapers, The Washington Post was given credit for several remarkable revelation that led to their long-living success operation in the business that has been fluctuated by declining sales.
Profitability of News Media
In the business where content leads the way and reaps income, if you can a find way to monetize and deliver the content digitally straight to your consumer’s eReading devices, what can possibly hold you back? We blogged how companies can sell their non-fiction content in Kindle Store a few months ago. According to our previous finding, The New York Times for Kindle Edition was crowned as the top winner in its Kindle newspaper subgenre. They remain to be the winner at the time of writing.
The Man with a Native Digital Background
How does Jeff Bezos’ latest move translate into the digital publication world? The New York Times aptly quotes the analysis from Alan D. Mutter, a newspaper consultant, how the ecommerce mogul is more likely to fit the modern scenario of providing content to consumers. According to Mutter’s blog, he seems to praise the idea of having someone “with a native digital background” lead the traditional newspaper business rather than repeating the cycle of approaching “an old-time businessman” who would try to restore The Post to its earlier heyday and treat it ‘like 1953 Plymouths in Cuba.”
“The Ablest CEO in America”
While this investment may seem personal for “the ablest CEO in America,” we should pay close attention what the future changes will be brought to the business. Considering the amount of success the New York Times application for Kindle has garnered, currently listed as #44 Paid in Kindle Store and #1 in Kindle Newspaper subgenre, there is a profitable future for non-fiction content.
Although The Washington Post for Kindle does not rank far behind in terms of subgenre, to be able to catch up with its competitor’s achievement on the overall best sellers rank, currently #408 Paid in Kindle Store, needs an uphill battle to overturn its disadvantage.
The Dwindling Sales
On the one hand, the declining daily circulation of prints could be one of the deciding factors that posts bleeding loss under The Grahams’ guidance. According to the Alliance for Audited Media as quoted by The New York Times, the daily circulation has significantly dwindled more than half (approx. 57%) from its peaked 832,332 average daily subscribers to 474,767 subscribers since 1993. On the other hand, the personal friendship between Jeff Bezos and Donald Graham, The Washington Post Co.’s CEO, is close. Graham, according to The Washington Post, told Bezos how to feature newspaper on its Kindle eReader.
You’ve Got a Friend
Perhaps, there is no need to reemphasize how the net worth of Amazon’s CEO could resuscitate the newspaper’s struggle to keep up with their competitors. Despite his rare appearance in the media, the $250 million purchase of The Washington Post catapults him into the front page in every corner of the WWW. One article from Wired, however, tries to speculate the more concretized motives why Bezos wants to own a newspaper business. Apart from “doing his buddy a favor,” he may want to leave the bigger fingerprints in the region-Washington-and eye short-term profit from the subscription business model.
The Evolving Digital Journalism
Bezos’ letter to The Washington Post’s employees otherwise shows optimism to work harmoniously with the same management team and addresses the significant role of journalism in a free society. The change will essential when “the Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business.” Decent example can be seen in the recently published interview with the U.S. president that is climbing the free best sellers chart. This interview is a part of Kindle Singles that proves to compete well with popular fiction titles. The internet does transform the way readers consume their content on a daily basis.
Whatever Bezos’ purchase motives are, we might start to see new changes being implemented to upgrade how content is delivered directly to consumers digitally. Instead of reading the purchase on printed paper, you and I end up reading and rereading all the bits and pieces on the world wide web and some on their subscribed application on eReader.
“I’m encouraged that the paper will be in the hands of a successful businessperson who understands the world of technology as well as anyone,” said the recently appointed editor, Martin Baron, who expressed his optimistic about the future changes in The Washington Post.
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