We’ve done some work in the publishing space so this one caught our eye: the New York Times’ “home page” traffic is a bit of a trainwreck. It’s also a lens into how digital print is evolving. That evolution plays directly into the future viability of many publishers.
Why should the death of homepages give rise to news that’s more about readers? Because homepages reflect the values of institutions, and Facebook and Twitter reflect the interest of individual readers.
This reminds us of the old “evolve or die” bit. Media in general, and newspapers in particular, have been struggling for years trying to find a viable revenue model. Advertising dollars have receded and print editions have become laregely irrevelant. Some titles have (somewhat) succeded with a “paywall” model (think Wallstreet Journal), others have succeeded with government subsidies (LeMond – but please, read this).
But what we are reminded of here is that, as a consumer, all of these changes are irrevelant if the actual product we consume isn’t relevant. At this point we want to consume news in our own individual ways: what whe want, when we want it, and for free.
Solve that problem and you’re well on your way back to profitability, yes?