Conde Naste just agreed to Apple’s terms to publish on the iPad, after some concession from Apple. But will this actually work and provide a publishing company the saving grace it needs to cope with the digital age? No, and it is all their fault.
News media has been stubbornly resistant to changes both technological and industrial. This is an industry that dismissed the Internet until it was too late to get in early, turned down a chance to buy both Craigslist and Google, and still does not appreciate the differences between print and the web. Any company that thinks it can get away with taking publication X and putting it on a screen while charging the same price as a physical copy, or in some truly misguided cases even more, is doomed. These are companies that refuse to believe the boom times are over and that they have to change a model that made them so much for so long. It is the ultimate denial coupled with lethargic administrations that don’t “get” the Internet.
It is not difficult to spot a new media site run by someone who understands the Internet. They’re social, interactive, less stiff, more colorful, more vibrantly packed full of images and sound and video than legacy media. They ooze web 3.0. These sites don’t just tack on Twitter because “that’s what’s cool with the kids these days, right?” while having no true understanding of it. Often, these sites are run by people who grew up with and honestly used social networking and all the other now standard expectations of the web. They are proactive to legacy media’s skeptical reactive. Is it any wonder that a segment of the market that waits until its long overdue to dip a toe into the water everyone else is swimming in is somehow failing? It is shameful that honestly skilled businesspeople have let themselves fall into such a state.