This morning, The New York Times online edition announced: “Newsweek To Cease Print Publication at End of the Year”. Closing date 12/31/2012. This story led me down memory lane reflecting upon my relationships with Newsweek and the evolution to digital media. Was it my fault?
The world is a changin’.. I remember “Newsweek” was the only ‘textbook’ for my high school sophomore social studies class in the 1970s. I waited for it each week and read it on the bus and in class. In 1997, when I started reading the Wall Street Journal online (for free) at my desk in a Fortune Global 1000 firm – others raised their eyebrows, with their fingers smudged with ink from the print edition. Today, our daily banking, shopping, dating, marrying, socializing as well as business procurement and church donations are all started or handled on the web. The digital revolution continues…and is proof that the “dot com” era succeeded …magnificently!
Many dot.com web 1.0 era businesses are flourishing today – including the big brands of eBay and Amazon, as well as many eBusinesses that my Scient/Razorfish colleagues designed and built – like MLB.com, Hotwire.com, LMVH.com and major banks’ online sites (probably yours). Other eCommerce and eProcurement transaction and digital sites that Scient built were acquired and integrated into other technology business platforms. For example, during web 1.0, I was involved at the launch of a Digital Print eProcurement Platform for a traditional printing company that was recently acquired by a VC backed company led by a Scient alumnus.
I remember in the late 1990s (internet ground zero) spending hours online with Time Warner media portal site to my great enjoyment. There was tremendous content across all their brands; but they did not know how to monetize their assets and keep user eyeballs sticking to their sites. Time Warner took down their branded sites and did the AOL deal – then dropped to the back of the pack. What a shame.
A similar thing happened to Newsweek – namely “a decline in advertising and circulation” (aka users) led to its demise. What is regrettable is that Newsweek (Owned by the Washington Post until 2010) did not learn long ago from AOL’s missteps on the one hand, nor from the Wall Street Journal’s successful business model pivot to revenue on the other hand.
Today, online content reigns and customer stickiness, usability and subscriptions remain vital to success. With people’s addiction to real time…well, anything, personal updates and news must all be relevant, juicy, riveting…and yes, digital!
What is your perspective? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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About the Author
Sylvester (Syl) Di Diego, Managing Partner, Strategy Dynamix, LLC is a venture accelerator and venture consultant who has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors to successfully navigate the venture growth lifecycle for digital, health and technology businesses. Learn more about Syl and connect with him at http://www.strategydynamix.com/aboutus/executives.php.
Note: For The New York Times online article “Newsweek To Cease Print Publication at End of Year” click here.