From the movie, Charlie Wilson’s War
Charlie Wilson: Let’s see what’s on the wires.
Charlie Wilson’s secretary: Why can’t you wait for newspapers like everybody else?
Charlie Wilson: ‘Cause I think it’s productive to know today’s news today. And it makes me one day smarter than you, which I enjoy as well.
This blog just started as a tweet I posted this morning, “The primary problem with newspapers is that they are ridiculously late.”
I sleep at around 12 am and wake up by 4 am. The newspapers get delivered to my door at around 7 am. The reason I am no longer a great fan of newspapers is that I would have already read most of the news, the ones that I would read anyways, hours before, sometime even days before the newspapers reach me. This has made me think deeply about whether I should continue to subscribe newspapers or not. I agree that it is too early to say “No”. But are we far from that day where there would be no newspapers, at least in some circles? I guess not.
The reasons why I think it will happen soon are quite well known:
1) Tablet & Smartphone proliferation.
2) Falling costs of wireless and broadband connections.
But a few things need to change first.
The core competency of news companies is content. Additionally they have to take care of the distribution and sales of advertisement space. This is going to change, news companies of the future will only have to worry about producing great content. So, how is this transition going to take place? This is how I think, it will play out eventually:
1) Paper: Your phone/iPad is the new paper.
2) Distribution: Facebook is the new news delivery van and instead of one newspaper delivery boy you’re going to have many- your Facebook friends.
3) Advertisements: Needless to say that the advertisements that are going to be delivered on your screen is going to be highly contextual and targeted based on your interests, e-mails you exchange and the searches you make on Google, Siri. News companies need not bother about selling ad spaces. Instead, they will work with ad networks like Facebook, Google AdSense, iAds, InMobi etc.
4) App Developer: This is where the big opportunity lies for a new kind of industry to develop. Right now, the news companies are developing their own applications for iOS/Android, which kind of gives me a feeling of, “Na..aah!!”. Why? Because I love Flipboard. I want a similar kind of experience that is consistent with all news I read online from whatever source be it.
So what is this new kind of company going to do? I guess this what they will do:
a) Build Flipboard like interface for the end user.
b) Build easy publishing tools for the news companies.
c) Analytics for the news companies.
d) Integration with Facebook Social App.
e) Integration with ad networks.
f) Integration with payment gateways etc.
Most likely, this new kind of industry will be of enterprise product companies. They will build a huge part of the application that is going to be used by consumers just as e-banking or mobile banking applications built by enterprise software companies are used by the customers of the bank. When will this happen? It’s hard to predict, but I hope soon. I really don’t want to be one day stupider than Charlie Wilson, if he were alive!