Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Poynter, day one: Bundling and portals

The biggest question I have about the local news business is the extent to which we can preserve the bundles that have worked so well with our print product. For example: Jane buys the Longview newspaper for its real estate ads. Jim for its movie times. Julia for its op-ed page.

Between them, Jane and Jim subsidize Julia's op-ed page, and vice versa, keeping the quality on all three high even when one goes through a slack period. This has always been the case. See what I mean?

Offering and promoting RSS will surely accelerate the destruction of our portal. But can unbundling be slowed? Stopped? Nope, says Jay Small, one of Poynter's teachers this week:

"The new newspaper.com should therefore be maybe 50 different products, instead of one bundle. And even if you lump all 50 together, they shouldn't combine and bake up into what we know as a newspaper.

"Which 50 products make sense? Ah, if I knew that, I'd have them out there already. The one thing I know is the same 50 won't work in every newspaper market. And we better get started figuring out which 50 we need, one or two at a time."

I'm sure we'll return to this issue soon.


In related news, Jupiter Research found that most young folks start looking for news from portals like Yahoo. (Tx Will Sullivan.)

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