Following the wrong leader

Peter Preston in The Observer on the ‘compact revolution‘ in newspaper publishing. I’m pretty sure this is the beginning of the end for broadsheet newspapers (although they’ll take a decade to die) and I’m interested to note that serial innovator The Guardian has decided not to visit planet tabloid any time soon but I think the fact that the same paper has apparently stumbled on an online publishing model that might just work is actually much more important in the long run. As I keep saying, The Guardian‘s ‘digital edition‘ is a genuine innovation, works beautifully and – remarkably – might even coexist (for the time being) with the paper’s continuing free online version. While copying The Independent and rushing out tabloid editions probably makes short term sense for Murdoch et al, copying The Guardian‘s digital strategy will almost certainly be more important in the future (yes, that’s Andrew Neil rubbing his hands over the Guardian’s compact dilemma in The Scotsman and Brian MacArthur in The Times).

Categorized as Media


  1. I fell in with your Guardian Digital Edition lovefest and tested it out to the hilt for my free trial. Any glitches seemed insignificant and easily ironed out. Largely they related to the relationship between grazing the paper edition, the way we choose what to read as we do that, and how you make that work in the digital one. The reason I decided not to subscribe was that I live in a mixed economy – while it was free the days I was going to be away from a computer I just bought the paper from the newsagent. The problem was that having paid my subscription for the digital edition I would still have wanted to buy the paper 2 or 3 times a week from my newsagent and that feels like paying twice for the same thing.

    I also felt bad about my newsagent as they’re really sweet and the third owners of what is frankly a duff site in the last 2 years. Whenever I go in they do an insane upsell pitch based on my previous purchases. They’re very confused by my random purchasing and we got over the poor start to our relationship because they wouldn’t accept my forged Guardian student vouchers. He said it was the fault of the distributor as he wouldn’t honour them.

  2. online broadsheets making money? well, i guess the WSJ does it, somehow. but their content is fairly hardcore, in capitalist terms. hard to imagine a Clapham schoolteacher paying money to download Polly Toynbee.

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