I just read a very interesting report by the American Press Institute called "Blueprint For Transformation". This report is from a project called Newspaper Next (or N2) which has been charged to study how the newspaper industry can respond to a new media landscape driven by the Internet.
The report is free if you register (and I have not been called by a salesperson yet so I think it is safe) and there are also conferences happening throughout the country to discuss it. If you are in Boston area, mark your calendars for February 23rd.
The report contains some very well written analysis of the disruptive impact of the Internet to traditional publishing models and applies to Clay Christensen Disruptive Technology theory to explain what is happening. Some interesting points:
We have a new reality were people can get information anytime and any place they want it. They can also publish at will. The social impact of these new publishing models enabled by the internet is on the scale of the advent movable type and mass literacy.
People consume more media (7.5 hours a day) from more sources.
The fragmentation of information sources has changed the advertising market.
Traditional newspaper websites are squeezing an old product into a new technology. This practice, known as "cramming," tends to overlook new opportunities created by the new technology.
Although the challenges are very real, the study does not suggest that newspaper businesses should lie down and accept their destiny of irrelevance. Instead they advocate creating portfolio companies that leverage their strengths to create disruptive technologies of their own. Included in this recommendation is a methodology for innovation and some general business strategies. The concepts are germane to anyone doing business in the information economy.