Thursday, March 12, 2009

I-News? Sorry – Not Me

Old Printing PressThere’s no denying that traditional print newspapers are slowly becoming a thing of the past – but a “new” initiative by the MediaNews Group, the fourth-largest newspaper chain in the U.S., seems all primed to take us even more into the past… say around 1939.

According to a recent article in the NY Times, the MediaNews Group is planning to test market its new idea of having household readers print out their personalized newspapers at home using a proprietary printer. The company has trademarked the term Individuated News (I-News) to refer to the media-delivery system, and it will be testing these systems with the Los Angeles Daily News this coming summer.

Actually, this is not the first time such an experiment is being conducted. Check out this web page on Modern Mechanix - in 1939, radio fax units were tried out in homes to allow people to receive news through radio signals and have their bulletins printed at home on a continuous sheet of paper.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see this specific idea as a solution to the woes of the media empires trying to protect and hopefully boost their readership and revenue through innovative means. I suspect most of us would not want to have a printer at home dedicated to printing newspapers.

Amazon Kindle 2
Personally, I see the short to medium term future of newspaper readership in the use of portable electronic readers such as the Amazon Kindle and the Sony e-Book Reader devices. flip between articles, making it faster and easier to browse and read the morning paper. In fact, the Kindle already offers several user-friendly features for newspaper readers such as ta flip page modality for reading articles just like paper versions of news papers, and moreover, the ability to bookmark, clip and save articles for later reading. The truth is that online news readers have already adopted various technologies and practices to aggregate and personalize the news they want from multiple sources through customized news feeds, and if mobility and portability are really important to the readers, they can get the same feeds through portable reader devices. There is great potential for newspapers in the active matrix electronic paper displays (EPDs) technologies which are fast improving in their capabilities and will soon be able to provide good color reproduction functionalities. What I don’t get is why don’t the media giants invest more seriously in technology projects which would allow them to reposition themselves more effectively in the print media value chain. By occupying positions as content creators, publishers and technology providers, they’d have a better chance at sustaining themselves over the long-term. Also, given the rapid adoption of web 2.0 by organizations, news media companies can position themselves as distributors of trusted research content, and offer this content via syndicated streams through certified APIs, web services, and enterprise mashups.

1 comment:

  1. yeah - this sounds like a stupid idea for sure. I'm sure they'll be asking themselves "What were we thinking!" and then someone should point them to this blog article.


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