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Business as usual has ended in the media business

Tuesday, 6 August, 2013

In an interview with the German paper the Berliner-Zeitung last year, Jeff Bezos described newspapers as a luxury item headed for extinction:

“There is one thing I’m certain about: there won’t be printed newspapers in twenty years. Maybe as luxury items in some hotels that want to offer them as an extravagant service. Printed papers won’t be normal in twenty years.”

In his letter to the Washington Post employees, who are now his employees, Bezos has this to say: “There will, of course, be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy.”

With his purchase of the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has become one of the most influential content creators in the world. Consider this: Amazon’s e-book publishing unit recently scored its first million-copy hit when sales of the Hangman’s Daughter series broke through the seven-figure mark. Last week, Amazon Studios announced five new video-on-demand programme pilots, and its new video games wing is advertising for more than a dozen posts. Content is king, clearly.


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