It’s not about the WaPo (or Bezos)

1024 684 David DeWolf

The news of Jeff Bezos’ acquisition of the Washington Post for $250M has created a flurry of prognostication about the impact Bezos will have on the DC newspaper.

The more important question is how the acquisition will impact the industry.  Bezos has already turned one print industry on its head and in the process helped to save it. Why should we expect anything less out of Bezos and the Washington Post?

Here are a few thoughts on what the acquisition means and how it will impact the industry:

  • The newspaper business is officially dead. The NEWS business is alive and well.
  • The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are now racing to keep up. Their news operations are their value. They’d need innovative buyers to stay relevant.
  • (Original) content is still king. Today’s tech companies are mostly aggregators. They will lose relevance over time.
  • No one owns the news ecosystem the way Amazon owns books or Apple owns music. The WaPo will set about to own the news ecosystem.
  • WaPo will succeed in what Murdoch could not when he attempted to reinvent news with The Daily. He’ll reimagine news consumption for the digital world.
  • The WaPo will start to look more like a product company than a news agency.  They will succeed at re-imagining news consumption because they won’t be afraid to fail and won’t be focused on short-term results. Instead of a massive launch, they will release incremental change in small, iterative experiments.
  • The tech and media industries are now fully integrated. You’re no longer one or the other. You’re both. TechMedia is here to stay.
  • In 200 years Jeff Bezos will be known as the person who reinvented media. First books, then newspapers, next what. . .?
  • One man’s trash is still another man’s treasure.  Smart people still look to buy low (the Post has experienced a 44% drop in revenues over the past 6 years).

If Bezos can take enough time out of his duties at Amazon to have an impact, the Washington Post will become a TechMedia powerhouse. It will be fascinating to watch how others try to keep up. With Amazon as a friendly partner, other media giants better start creating their innovation ecosystem now.