There is an interesting post up on PaidConent.co.uk by Robert Andrews titled, "Knives Out For BBC Local Video Plans, 'Could Kill Newspapers'."
Basically, the post highlights some recent responses by UK's newspaper industry leaders to BBC's recent announcement of big plans (£68 million Local Video Proposal) for local online video content. For the most part, the newspaper community has responded with overwhelming disapproval.
To highlight the overall attitude, here are a few direct quotes:
"The BBC is a highly-valued institution but it should not be given free rein to trample over commercial rivals and become the sole provider of local news in the UK." - Newspaper Society director David Newell:
"There is a very well established local newspaper market. The BBC is in danger of killing this off as, unlike commercial operators, it can spend a lot of public money and there is absolutely no penalty if things don't go well." - Guardian Media Group CEO Carolyn McCall
Robert, the author of the post, explains that BBC has been producing local video content for some time and that newspapers actually have a heads-up when it comes to the ability to cover hyper-local online video content.
I understand that there is a difference in the UK when it comes to how these industry's/companies are funded and that part of the disapproval is centered around the public funding aspect.
However, having worked directly with the newspaper industry for many years, I have seen similar responses in the past to online initiatives and it sounds like much of the same to me.
- Craigslist, Ebay, free online classifieds - For the most part, newspapers have lost their share of merchandise, automotive, and service related classified advertisers nationwide. There was plenty of disapproval of Craigslist.
- Monster and online job listings - Monster was a company that originally approached newspapers for partnerships. The newspaper industry declined and saw Monster.com grow enough to become the single largest fierce competitor for job listings and recruitment advertising. Now, many newspapers have 'surrendered' and are partnering directly with Monster.com.
- Google News and other News sites - I distinctly remember hearing discussion at NAA events regarding whether it was really OK or not to distribute news content, for FREE. Remember all the online newspaper subscription offers?
Rather than, for lack of a better word, bitching about it, why don't newspapers get up and do something about it? Perhaps these newspapers above ARE doing something about it as I know many are. Not all newspaper companies or industry leaders fall in this trap.
Much of the industry has gained the willingness to adapt and has learned to embrace change. At the same time, revenues have declined, costs have risen, and many are reluctant to invest in novel new business ventures.
Perhaps I'm wrong? What do you think? Doesn't this sound familiar? Perhaps this particular case is not a good example, but those were the thoughts I had. Time to evolve and embrace innovation?