He may already be in your living room, with a firm handle on the new digital supply chain. Once there, the thinking goes, he may also be able to place a competitive, new-media Washington Post in front of you. Perhaps he can aggregate it in such a way that you may be willing to pay, piecemeal and personalized, for the news, information and journalism you consume.
Of course, in purchasing the Washington Post, Bezos has also purchased the old supply chain: The potentially valuable WaPo brand (influence), the potentially much less valuble linotype and newsroom culture of journalists and cultural gatekeepers battered in the surf of new media and technology. If anyone has a chance to innovate and stay ahead of the curve of new technology, many hope, Bezos can (assuming he is so inclined).
‘So here’s your new Washington Post: primarily delivered on Kindles, other Android platforms, and on Kindle apps on iPhone and iPad. Amazon applies your reading preferences and generates content with the selection optimized to what you like to read — my “front page” would have lots of politics, science, and foreign news; yours might have the sports pages and feature stories instead.’
I understand that news isn’t free, but I also can’t remember the last time I was willing to commit to a pay-wall without just surfing on, especially in the realm of politics, ideology, news and information.
Sometimes the writer is very knowledgeable, and the writing brilliant. Sometimes I think people really ‘nail it’ and I’m glad they’re there. Sometimes it clearly took years of development and dedication and I feel moved by a piece. But honestly, the wallet rarely comes out. If it isn’t business or something I need, and it isn’t family, friends, and fellow bloggers and connections who’ve exchanged time and ideas with me, I’m not inclined to pay for it.
I’m sure I’m not alone.
***It’s worth mentioning there is a difference between opinion and ideas and providing reliable information, quickly and accurately to those who can pay for it and are responsible for that information to others, but that’s a smaller market: Financial institutions, traders, businesses with fiduciary and contractual obligations to clients, politicians and other institutions, for example.
Addition: From an insider at the Post: ‘Sorry, Jeff Bezos, the News Bundle Isn’t Coming Back‘
Good luck making money blogging:
Malcolm Gladwell argues here that apart from the information/journalism divide, the technology still ultimately costs something as well…”Free” is a utopian vision, and I suspect Gladwell knows this pretty well: From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”