Newspapers are at a crossroads, the same as when a nonprofit or for profit company decide to crossover. However, for the newspaper brand it looks like they are simply standing still. The key is to understand the strength of their brand visibility and to add value for sustainability.

Steve Rubel has some interesting tips on why newspapers should go digital. First he identifies that newspapers do have a profit problem. I feel that the problem is; newspapers are flat out not making any revenue to sustain. Usually, when this happens most businesses have to shut their doors, gone and that is it! However, newspapers actually have a second wind to build a brand digitally. If I owned a newspaper and was drowning I would absolutely jump at that lifesaver.

According to Rubel, “Newspaper publishers are facing a perfect storm thanks to three megatrends: rising inflation, America’s growing green conscience and disruptive technology. To succeed in this era of great change, they need to think about how to make lemonade out of these perceived lemons. Unfortunately, so far, they haven’t.”

I have long felt that newspapers should go digital and Rubel’s advice sums it up.
1. RISING INFLATION: As gas prices rise sharply, so do distribution costs. To compensate, many newspapers have announced they are significantly increasing their hard-copy newsstand prices. However, that’s a 20th-century reaction to what is a complex, 21st-century problem.
What they should be doing instead is using this as an opportunity to put a hard date on when they will abandon print altogether, close down plants and migrate completely to a digital paradigm. They need to have faith that their brands and quality editorial product will encourage readers who haven’t already migrated to do so.
2. GREEN CONSCIOUSNESS: Americans are increasingly becoming very aware of their environmental impact and what they can do to mitigate it. Millions are taking the simple step of cutting print subscriptions in favor of (slowly) going completely digital. Is this a threat to newspapers? Of course, but it’s also an opportunity.
Advertising — particularly outdoor and print — also creates tremendous waste. Newspapers can take the lead in going green and in the process create new avenues for advertisers to play up their related social-responsibility programs online. It’s a win all around.
3. DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY: Last but not least we have the growing popularity of speedy 3G-enabled smartphones and devices such as Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader. Newspapers have invested heavily here, creating smartphone apps and pushing content for Kindles. But they don’t go far enough.
Newspapers have made it hard for readers to get what they want without jumping through hoops. For example, they syndicate story summaries in their RSS feeds (even to paid subscribers). This forces readers to visit the website for the full content, and when they do, they have to trip over interruptive ads and interstitials.
I even feel that smaller newspapers that have quality news, by going digital can even level the playing fields with the larger newspapers. The next problem for newspapers is to embrace this concept. However, the print is on the wall and it is a hit or miss to read it.

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