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Millions Of Local Niches .4

(October 27, 2005) We're always surprised by the levels of panic in the newspaper industry. For nearly 80 years (since the dawn of radio), newspaper circulation has been "falling" by one measure or another. The "talkies" were an early death threat. TV was supposed to kill the papers. Then came the web.

There's a lesson here for the wannabe "Monster killers". Established companies, particularly those with multiple generations of success, run on momentum. In account terms, it's way easier to get fired than it is to get hired. The cost of displacing an incumbent is vastly higher than the cost of retaining incumbency.

There's also a reminder of the research we've been citing recently. Job dissatisfaction is correlated with staying, not leaving. The same is true, we think, of customer satisfaction. Complaining about a known evil is usually far easier than experimenting with an unknown evil.

Incumbency is very strong medicine.

When we look at the possibility that the global labor market has millions of niches (TalentPools), it seems obvious that local newspapers come to the game with a real advantage. The skills of distribution, audience development, content generation, and so on that are a  part of building out a niche are the newspaper's operating  tools. Who understands local audiences better (okay, Craig does)?

We'd love to see the newspapers enter the local wifi markets using the Google vision we outlined yesterday. Google sketches the business plan, the local newspapers execute.

The only problem is that the local newspapers have never evidenced the execution flexibility required to play in that sort of a game. So, while they have every advantage in the game, they are not really going to make it.


Don't forget to check out the blogs on bert.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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