1994 Knight Ridder video / The future of newspapers


I’ve seen this video floating around the technology blogosphere:

It’s not perfect – the tablet is clearly too big (even in the video it looks huge and unwieldy), and nobody likes a stylus, they talk about two way communication but completely miss that they don’t need a flash drive.  Still, this was more than 15 years ago!

And the amazing thing to me is how the newspapers completely failed to capitalize on their own research.  Had they used their dominant position as a print news provider in 1994 certainly they could have been information gatekeepers, like say Google.  Instead they failed to realize the threat the internet represented both to their news operations and to their classified ads and at best just put their content online without thinking of clever ways to make money from it.  In context ads, for example .. or even better, the “everything is local” trend that we are seeing today with the GroupOns of the world.

I guess it’s a perfect example of disruptive innovation, and it’s not surprising – but just imagine if even one of the large newspaper conglomerates of the 90s had the vision to attack new media with a vengeance … they had every advantage as an existing information provider with a well skilled, global staff of writers.  I guess it’s a lesson for all of us.

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