Tag Archives: Newspaper Next

Business Models for Newspaper Publishers conference

I criticized the American Press Institute‘s Newspaper Next project last month for wasting more than US$2 million and a year producing a “blueprint” to “transform the industry” that in reality turned out to be little more than advice that publishers should think of newspapers as things that readers ‘hire’ to perform various ‘jobs” such as telling them what’s occuring in their communities or what to do tonight.

That project was just a rehash of Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen‘s book The Innovator’s Dilemma, which shouldn’t be surprising because the API hired Christensen’s consulting firm to develop the project. Newspaper Next is a good deal for Christensen’s firm and API, which can now run seminars and workshops about their ‘solution’ to the problem of newspaper companies’ mismanaging themselves into suicide, but it isn’t really a solution.

Contrast API’s Newspaper Next project with the much more cogent Business Models for Newspaper Publishers conference that Ifra held this week in Frankfurt, Germany.

Rather than telling newspaper executives that their product is ‘hired’ by readers to perform various ‘jobs,’ the Ifra conference focused on ways newspaper publishers can estimate future changes in their industry, where the future sources of company revenue will be, and how to re-align their business strategies and corporate structures accordingly. Practical advice.

Keynoted by Prof. Peter Zellman, of the Austrian Institute for research on leisure and tourism, there were presentations about consumers’ future behavior with media, structural changes underway in the newspaper industry, utilizing online communities, expanding business beyond just reporting the news, preconditions necessary for innovation, and usages of multimedia. Though I couldn’t attend this conference due to scheduling conflicts, I followed its live moblog.

Some of those topics are touched in North American newspaper conferences, but not to the degree of frankness and detail that European conferences do. Perhaps this is because the North American newspaper industry is an oligarchy of just a handful of companies competing in just two large countries; not hundreds of companies that, most of which, don’t compete against each other in the dozens of languages and nearly 30 countries of Europe.

Timewarp at API

Have you ever wanted to take what you now know and go back ten years in time? I saw it done on Wednesday.

The American Press Institute, a training and think-tank institute for the American newspaper industry, warped time when presenting the second phase of its Newspaper Next project to transform that industry.

The project is being run by Innosight, the consulting company founded by Clayton Christensen (pointing at one of his slides above), the Harvard Business School professor who wrote the book, The Innovator’s Dilemma about the troubles established companies have facing disruptive change in the markets. Because newspapers are facing such a change, the API hired Innosight to help it.

Innosight’s presentation on Wednesday basically consisted of two parts: An explanation of what tends to happen when established companies face disruptive change and basically two recommendations what the newspaper industry should do.

Continue reading Timewarp at API