Are printed news worth the money?
Do you know that feeling of information overflow and being overwhelmed by your newspaper? (At least those of you who still read printed news.) Often I have a hard time reading through the whole newspaper, firstly because of time issues and secondly because there are articles which do not draw my particular interest.
Would you go that far and cancel the subscription for the reason that your money might not be worth it? Some people might. As discussed in previous blogs by Mattias and me, the newspaper industry has been facing a great threat by the social media and the development of Web 2.0.
In 2009, the founders of niiu saw a niche in that recession and launched following project. The first German personalized newspaper. Readers were able to act as publisher and to create their own individual newspaper by
- choosing from different sources: printed and online news, blogs, rss feeds
- final result: printed personal newspaper every morning
- for less then 2 € per print.
Sounds simple and like a great idea – doesn’t it? Their goal was to attain 5000 readers in 6 months. But then, the surprising end: this target was never reached. In January 2011 niuu was put on hold.
Failure by the one – try by the other
Why is that so? Even the Schweizerische Post launched a similar project called MyNewspaper a couple of months ago. Based on the same principle as the Berlin project niiu. The only difference: consumers are also able to purchase their newspaper as an online version – worldwide. Critics argue about the high price and the scarcity of resources. A one year subscription costs up to 1,070 € whilst the online version values approximately one third of that price. Additionally the paper is delivered with the usual mail and therefore lands later on the breakfast table as other newspapers. On top, many traditional newspapers as the Neue Züricher Zeitung disapprove of a cooperation with MyNewspaper fearing a degradation of their own brand.
Does the Suisse version have the chance to be more successful then the predecessor from Berlin or is this just another medium facing failure? MyNewspaper plans the test run for a year and to attract about (paying)1000 readers – probably a more reasonable goal then 5000 subscribers in half a year.
However, this business model was tested before and died, thus is the survival of MyNewspaper under the development of Web 2.0 reasoanable? Readers might subscribe rather to free RSS feeds as for example for IPads and Kindles then starting the effort to select actively what topic out of which journal they would like to receive.
Thus, is it then more reasonable to focus on the development of apps for smart phones and pads and to forget about the printed news versions?
Many of the comments on other posts revealed that most of us are still fond of using and reading printed news. Hence we might try something new and design an individual newspaper.
Would I subscribe to MyNewspaper?
No! Personally, the time invested to select the topics that I want to read the next day, could be invested otherwise. For instance, just check the personal RSS-reader or read any type of online news. Additionally, paying such a high amount for it, does not turn it more attractively. Still, it interests me to see whether MyNewspaper will still be on the market in about one year and how the potential readers react to that special offer. In Berlin, as we know, the response revealed lower results then expected.
This video might be an answer why printed news will yet survive.