Web 2.0 hasn’t demonstrated any viable media business models beyond advertising. The dilemma is advertising is the print media’s business model, and publishers have been hesitant to cannibalize their 1.0 advertisers by moving them to the less profitable 2.0 platform.
Mitch Joel at Twist Image pens a fine article about the newspapers’ inertia to progress on a Web 2.0 model. He points to a New York Times article excerpt to describe the dilemma newspaper publishers face:
“Many current and former Mercury News executives say that a lack of investment by Knight Ridder and MediaNews has given the paper a fairly ordinary website that has been slow to adopt practices that keep readers coming back many times a day, like publishing articles online well before they appear in print, updating them frequently, blogging and posting videos.
‘The answer for newspapers has to lie in building their websites better and better, and promote, promote, promote,’ said Mr. Riggs, who was the Mercury Newspaper publisher under both companies. ‘We haven’t seen that.’
Mr. Butler, the editor, said that with money tight, Web improvements have to wait. ‘Until or unless we see that those things pay for themselves, we make a serious mistake in focusing too much on that,’ he said.”
The recession’s negative impact on advertising and the demise of print due to budget cutting will begin to force publishers to focus on their online presence and connection with their community audience. It’s not only newsprint, local TV and radio are now competing with online print and must also focus on developing their online audience. Radio is particularly vulnerable as their audience discovers that online radio like Last.FM, Pandora and Blip.fm provide a more customized, less commercial listening experience.
So, can embattled media management surrender their 1.0 business model mindset, eliminate print presses and distribution, downsize their news gathering budgets, and rejigger their well known media brand names to become respected online brands? Tall order.