Newspapers Are Dying? Now That’s News!

This is a bit off topic, because it’s of the dead trees variety, but this headline came across: Newspapers, reeling from slumping ads, slash jobs.

The timing isn’t as good as hopped, considering we’re in this thing called a recession, but this happened because a lot of newspapers treated their web properties like their print properties. Sure, the web have some very real expenses — those servers don’t come cheap, and there is that pesky thing called electricity — but it’s much less expensive than paying people to run the presses, a lot less expensive than cutting down a bunch of trees, and don’t get me started on the costs of dropping off one of those newspapers at everyone’s doorstep.

So by charging more, sites like and ate them alive.

I like print!

I love print!

But print, as quick as it as happened, is dead as in George Carlin dead.

Companies keep on charging us the same for a digital product as they do for a product that has manufactured (software distributors like Adobe, publishers like the Wall Street Journal). At one point or another, we’re all going to wise up, yo.

They should take a page out of the ESPN’s book. ESPN is one of the most profitable entertainment entities on the planet, and they know how to play in multiple mediums better than anyone on the planet. is an amazing (and the leading sports site), ESPN the network has about 20 or so properties it seems, and the print magazine has all but killed Sports Illustrated, because they are covering the whole media package.

I pay more for their Insider product than for their magazine, because I get the magazine for free as part of their Insider service. $4.95 a month, and more often than not, I read much more of their Insider content online. They have none of the legacy costs, and they’re able to leverage much more of their content (have you tried fitting a video clip on a newspaper page?), and get a higher CPM from their advertisers.

I imagine there isn’t a single newspaper executive that has thought of any of this, especially the management over at the Tribune, a company that owns many outlets of both video and print content, yet integrate none of that.