Change or Die: Newspapers and Media

I've recently been looking for an apartment to rent this summer, and have been amazed to find how useless the local newspapers have become!

In the days of old, classified ads were the only place you'd ever look if you were renting an apartment. This also used to be a major revenue source for papers.

I remember back when the Internet was all shiny and new. Smart people said that newspapers would either have to embrace it or be made obsolete.

Well, it took over a decade, but it looks like the matter has been decided.

Some papers have been able to transition to the online world, but a lot haven't. Their classifieds business has been taken over by sites like Craigslist and Kijiji. There are probably blogs out there getting better advertising revenue than the average local newspaper. (I have no stats to back that up, but I'd still bet on it)

Newspapers will probably be around for as long as the Baby Boomers are, but I can't see Gen-X and younger having much need for them.

This is only the first of the major media industries to be wiped out. Music and movie distribution companies know that they're next. They've seen the writing on the wall for a long time, and have continued to refuse to change their business model.

Big media company execs are doing their best to use lobbying, law-making and litigation to squeeze out the last bit of money. That way they'll be able to retire on big pensions and go play golf as their companies self-destruct.

Like the websites that have displaced local newspapers, smart competitors that know how to leverage technology will eventually prevail.

It just might take a while.

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