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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - September 2013

The Future of Packaged News

One of the most profound changes that is happening to the media industry is the shift from packaged news to... well... something else. So does that mean we no longer need the package? That collection of articles that we can just lean back and read at our leisure?

This question recently reemerged after Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, bought the Washington Post and told their employees:

The problem is how do we get back to that glorious bundle that the paper did so well? That daily ritual is incredibly valuable, and I think on the Web so far, it's gotten blown up.

He is certainly right that the web has blown up the lean-back reading mode, and that most digital news sites seem to be more about catering to people's ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) than bringing them something of value.

Same with social networks, which are focusing on what they call engagement, as in creating quick snacks with as little brand attention and retention as possible.

So let's go back to the glorious good old days of packaged news that comes in a bundle one time per day, right?

Well, yes and no.

The bundle itself is actually a pretty good idea. The problem is when you base the bundle on the limitations of print. The concept is great, but the model needs to be changed.

In print, we have two catastrophic limitations that have been hurting newspapers since they were invented. These limitations are printing and distribution.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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