The Future of Print

Maybe Newspapers Don’t Belong Online

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on March 23, 2009

The conventional wisdom is that all media companies need to figure out how to take their business model and transform it to the web – Almost all of them have heeded the late Harvard Professor Theodore Levitt’s famous lesson of what killed the railroads: “They thought they were in the railroad business, not the transportation business.” But after ten years of following Levitt’s advice, it’s not at all clear that the traditional media model works on the web.

There is also the possibility that the web will not be a place where content will create sources to be viable on the web. value. In fact, there’s just one unfortunate thing about Levitt’s compelling mantra about railroads and the transportation business.

It’s wrong.

Transportation may have been a wonderful business on rails and sea, but it has proven a dreadful business in the air. Even today, the market cap of Burlington Northern is $22 Billion; the market cap of Carnival Cruise is $14 Billion while the market cap of American Airlines is less than $1.5Billion. The railroads may have done many things wrong, but avoiding the airline business was not one of them.

via Maybe Newspapers Don’t Belong Online.


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