Nic Brisbourne is a partner at European venture capital firm DFJ Esprit, investing in software and media. He was previously an associate with Reuters Venture Capital and an executive at Cazenove Private Equity. He blogs at The Equity Kicker…
News Corp (NYSE: NWS). and other traditional news businesses are hand-wringing over how they will make money on the internet. I think they are focusing on the wrong problem.
The web is more than just a new medium. Rather than thinking about how they can sell the same old news via a new channel, media bosses should be taking this opportunity to re-examine old assumptions, to rebuild their product for the 21st Century.
The interesting thing about the news industry is that, when we examine it from the ground up, we quickly realize that it lost touch with its customers a long time ago, and that the model for the future will most likely look very different to what we are used to.
The great tragedy of the newspaper industry in the late 20th Century was that, in the pursuit of profit, quality journalism became a dying art. Budgets were reduced, journalists were asked to write more stories per day and were given less time to check facts. At the same time, editors were instructed to avoid stories that might create controversy and the expense of lawsuits. The result was more and more bland articles recycled from paper to paper, more politically motivated editing and the collapse of public trust in the newspaper industry. This story is chronicled in Flat Earth News by Nick Davies.
We kept buying, though, because we didn