Can Bezos Save the Newspaper Industry? AKA Is the Industry Ready For Bezos?
September 10, 2013 Leave a comment
The Washington Post and The Boston Globe have both found new owners and it looks like the clock is ticking when it comes to The Los Angeles Times. Perhaps the most surprising revelation was that Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million.
Why would Bezos, who is best known as the king of retail buy a newspaper? According to Henry Blodget at Business Insider, “Content and commerce companies have long dabbled with combining the two experiences, but no one has really nailed it. Given Amazon’s expertise in affiliate marketing and advertising, it’s not hard to imagine that the Washington Post could quickly become a laboratory for the next generation of integrated content and commerce.”
So does this mean that one of the nation’s most respected newspapers will soon become a laboratory? Apparently. Bezos is famous or infamous for buying businesses and altering their basic framework.
Whereas Bezos is buying media, he is ambivalent about being featured in it. He is not the most PR or media friendly CEO and is famous for not granting interviews, yet he does manage to stay high on the media radar. An interesting public relations approach since arguably he more than any other business titan has taken on the media darling mantel that was Steve Jobs. Yet he does it more in a Wizard of Oz, man behind the curtain sort of way. Whereas Jobs loved the show, he was front and center and his showmanship and performances during his Apple launches are things of legend.
Unlike Apple, making the most money as quickly as possible is not always Bezos’ driving factor. He and Amazon have been remarkably successful in their own way, but the bottom line has not been the same bottom line for him as it is for many of the other 21st Century megabrands. For example, financial writers have reported that Apple makes twice as much in a single quarter than Amazon has generated in the last decade. There is a definite difference in mindsets when it comes to Bezos and many of his current or soon to be competitors.
Hopefully that particular mindset will serve the Post. The upside is that personally Bezos has money to lose and Bezos and not Amazon bought the Post. With the state of the newspaper industry, it seems apparent that any new owner will need to be ready and able to take a loss while he or she figures out a new working model. Although many may balk at the changes he makes and he very well could make the wrong changes, the newspaper industry is hemorrhaging and change is needed.
Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013
Fallon, Patrick. “Amazon’s Bezos buys Washington Post for $250 million.” Photo. CNN Money. 5 Aug 2013. 9 Sept 2013. <http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/05/news/companies/washington-post-bezos/index.html>