>>>  Tomorrow's News  <<<

Home Services Experience Publications Strategy Contact me Hot Topics

"Tomorrow's News" - the results of my strategic research in 1999 - into the future of printed news and of news consumption in the light of new media and the world wide web - was published as a book by the board of Financial Times and widely distributed within the organisation. 

The research took me to MIT Media Lab, to Sun Microsystems and many other leading IT companies on Silicon Valley, to MSNBC in Seattle, and involved extensive discussions with many leading newspapers and media organisations in the UK, USA and Europe.

The following were the main conclusions, backed up by much detail and many examples:
  1. Printed newspapers and new media will be able to coexist for the foreseeable future because their relative strengths and weaknesses (which are mapped out in detail in the book) are distinct, converging only very slowly and often complementary, providing opportunities for publishers to offer complementary services to readers through multiple channels.

  2. My economic analysis showed, prior to the collapse of tech stocks in March 2000 and despite absurdly high share valuations and forecasts of explosive growth in new media advertising revenues, that the business model for publishing news free on-line recouping costs through advertising and sponsorship was unsustainable. Even if you believed the massive percentage growth figures forecast for online adverting, they equated to dollar values that were smaller than the modest growth in advertising predicted for traditional media. And this was being relied upon to fund every dot.com, not just traditional publishers and there would be great competition from online giants of the time such as AOL and yahoo. So online publishing was, as it remains to a great extent, based on a weak business model.

  3. Barriers to entry for publishing would fall away in the digital age, so quality, brand and reader loyalty would become increasingly important for guarding and building market share. Traditional publisher should anticipate predators from unexpected quarters.

  4. Digital printing and e-paper would would be key technologies that would be examples of the gradual convergence between traditional print and online media.

  5. E-commerce provides a conundrum for publishers.  It provides attractive revenue opportunities for publishers to recoup investment in new media, but it presents several thorny problems. Is it core business in which they are competent to compete effectively?  Could they end up being effectively in competition with their advertisers? Above all, will it not undermine and compromise editorial integrity? (ie. Can you write impartially about companies whose products and services you are selling?)

  6. Cross-media publishing solutions and content management systems are of vital strategic importance enabling publishers to publish on-line and in print while keeping production costs under control, to manage greater variation with the product with more targeted advertising and content relevant to local readers, and to exploit new and growing revenue opportunities in syndication and content sales.