Over at Jeff Jarvis‘ blog, the commenters are rocking out a death fugue for the New York Times. The consensus? Everyone agrees that the House That Sulzberger Built is in trouble.
Some choice excerpts, with typos intact:
Walter Abbott: “True, The NY Times ‘brand’ still has some residual value, but that’s rapidly eroding with each well-publicized faux pas (Jayson Blair, MoveOn ad, Duke Lacrosse reporting, etc.) they commit. Throughout U. S. business history, we have many times witnessed entire industries and their companies go away because they could not or would not change their culture to adapt to progress. This is particularly true of industries which once held a monopoly position. We will continue to see that happen – history does repeat itself.”
Ann Brocklehurst: “Owning lots of pages like this is what has made the domain companies’ and ad arbitragers’ long-tail fortunes. What I’d really like to know is how many of these pure-ad pages About.com has as opposed to its content sites. And, are its revenues and profits coming form the pure ad pages as opposed to the content pages?”
Brian Cubbison: “For all the talk of innovation, from the top by Zell and Singleton, from the bottom by the fast-growing wiredjournalists.com, and from outside visionaries, what we see are the cuts. Where are the innovations? The cuts are outpacing the innovations in a big way. The San Jose Mercury News had to put its Rethinking the Newspaper project on hold to deal with the cuts. Now employees are told to wait by the phone next Friday morning, and if they don’t get a call by 10 a.m., it’s OK to come to work. Newsday is cutting 120 employees, some of whom left the day of the announcement while others will stay for a month.”
Matthew Moore: “I moved from Boston to Utah – primarily to ski. I say this to set up my analogy.
1. Post-war (WWII) nascent ski industry begins to flourish; it’s somewhat elitist at first. 2. The marketing of family skiing takes the elitism out and broadens the market. 3. Uh oh! What’s this snowboarding “fad”? 4. Skiers vs. Snowboarders: A great New vs. Old arbitrary war 5. Snowboarding brings new tricks, gear, and Q rating to the slopes 6. Skiers incorporate the new tricks, gear, etc. 7. Snowboarding and skiing, from an industry perspective, become one and the same (with the improvement of the entire industry). 8. Skiing = print/analog; Snowboarding = online/digital
Media seems to be stuck somewhere between 5 and 6 right now, depending on where one is looking.
The analogy is not perfect because of the role of advertising revenue in the media portion, but I think it’s a decent abstraction. What do you think?”