Newspaper publishers, book publishers, movie studios, music companies, ad agencies, television networks — they’re all trying to figure out how they fit into a new-media world. Their old way of doing business isn’t as profitable as it used to be, but they haven’t found a new way that’s as profitable, either.
So we decided to ask a wide group of media experts for their suggestions. What do they think old-media companies should do to survive? The answers ranged from the general to the specific, from the mundane to the far-out. Here’s a look at what’s ailing various media industries — and what our experts suggest to help cure their ills.
One of the ideas:
Let readers customize their own newspaper. “The newspaper of the future is going to be a coalition of niche products,” says S.W. “Sammy” Papert III, chairman and CEO of Belden Associates, a Dallas newspaper-industry consultant. That means, for instance, that newspapers should offer online readers — who are used to hunting for narrowly focused information that interests them — an opportunity to create a specialized newspaper according to their areas of interest. So, for example, newspapers might allow their readers to click a few buttons and see all of a paper’s coverage about local politics, excluding everything else. Or readers might opt for a page devoted to sports or cultural news.