Nashville Scene writer Bill Carey is profiled in Today’s Wall Street Journal in a special small business section. Bill is one of ten people profiled as part of a package of stories called, “The Morning After: They took a chance, now how do they feel?” (Please, no email comments.) Bill was one of the founders of nashvillepost.com, which is still a well-worn link on my bookmarks. He also is the author of Fortunes, Fiddles & Fried Chicken, which is an excellent look at some of the high and low points of Nashville business history.
But he was exhausted. He knew he couldn’t go on chasing stories while simultaneously running a business. On the day that state son Al Gore announced his running mate for the presidential election, it was midsummer, and Mr. Carey left his office to shuffle over to the news conference at the Capitol. “It was 98 degrees,” he recalls. “I hadn’t slept in days.” He gazed around at the relaxed press corps standing around, making jokes, no worries. “I thought, ‘God, this is horrible.'”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the New York Times is upping its investment in Newsstand, Inc., the company which allows the Times to offer digital versions that are exact replicas of the paper’s print edition “for as little as 64¢ a day.”
While the new investment may suggest that the Times is having some traction in selling this technology, I have my doubts. Can someone help me? Who exactly is the customer for this? I am a passionate producer and patron of both printed and digital media. I certainly can understand why advertisers would like this. And I can understand why publishers would like this. I can even understand why libraries or other research-oriented institutions would like to archive digital versions of the print version of a newspaper or magazine.
But what is the compelling reason for a customer/reader to pay 65¢ a day for content available free in a different, yet compelling and now maturing, format?
As a magazine publisher, I would love for this to have a customer base. As a long-time reader of print and digital content, I just don’t get it.
(P.S. Despite there not being a newstand reader for the Mac OS, I have had the pleasure to see a demo of the product. It is like a PDF on steroids designed specifically to replicate the print-reading experience. It’s cool for a print-person like me to see and use. But still, it seems to be, at best, a transitional gimmick and, at worst, this year’s version of the CueCat, last year’s $250 million media convergence dream product that proved to be a nightmare.)
IDG has natually selected to evolve Darwin Magazine into a web-only species. The print magazine will go into “hibernation,” says the editor.
Quote (from the Boston Globe):
(Editor) McCreary added that by continuing an Internet-only version of Darwin, he hoped to keep the magazine alive until the ad market can once again support a print version. ”Today’s environment – like the bubble that preceded it – is temporary,” he wrote. ”And when the time is right, we will have survived to launch again in print.
As usual, it comes down to the survival of the fittest.