“Newspapers, Now Or Never”: Dave Morgan Rings the Alarm

newspapers_now_or_never.jpgFollowing Harry’s last post, I happened to find the following very actionable mini-manifesto (registration required) from Dave Morgan in MediaPost. Dave Morgan is Tacoda’s CEO (Tacoda is a behavioral targeting advertising network) and their biggest customers are major newspapers. He feels that newspapers can’t wait any longer before they embrace the Web and if they don’t, they will lose to GYM (Google, Yahoo, MSN). According to Mr. Morgan, newspapers have the following biggest competitive weakness vs. GYM: lack of scale and lack of vision.

He offers the following strategic advice for them if they want to be successful:

  1. Set their digital divisions free. “Newspapers need to stop the forced integration of online and print teams. These two groups are like oil and water, and the print people bring the online folks down. Newspaper should “rightsize” their print business according to future print revenues and invest in their online business according to future online revenues. Forced integration online causes great customers and great talent to flee.”
  2. Think beyond the page. “Local newspapers cannot simply repurpose themselves online.”
  3. Embrace user-generated media. “Newspaper Web sites need massive audience and ad impression scale. They will need to be twenty times bigger in three years than they are today. They cannot get this growth through newsroom content alone; not by far. As Fast Company noted, newspapers need to be the place where everything local is posted, shared, discussed, criticized, or mashed up. That means lots and lots of user content and very little “publisher control.”
  4. Create local ad networks. “Someone needs to aggregate every site and every page and every blog with any local connection onto local ad networks to create the kind of massive scale that advertisers want. This is already done on the national level; it should be done at the local level.”

What it means: this is a brilliant wake-up call to the newspaper industry but I think every offline media should read this mini-manifesto and filter it through their own business rules and environment.

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