In the comments below, former TV online exec Rodney Overton also responds to David Carr’s medley of old songs about old newspaper business models in a new world. He warns that newspapers can’t still believe that they own local news because TV web sites “are closing in FAST.”
I’ll confirm that. I’ve seen TV guys flying over newspaper markets like buzzards getting a whiff of carrion. They smell death. They smell opportunity.
Now I know some will argue, as well they should, that TV news is crap and only getting crappier. True: fires, shots fired, flacks’ events, and weather teases. But remember that with their cutbacks, newspapers themselves are only getting crappier; there’s a convergence in quality coming at a low level. But while papers see their market and share shrinking, TV people see the chance to grab new ad revenue and new audience online and they still have a megaphone that can promote and build a new product. Will they be any good at it? There’s no telling. But Overton’s point is that newspapers cannot act as if they’re in monopolies and as soon as they circle their wagons, that’s when the attack will begin. Beware TV execs on horseback.
And if TV guys mess it up, there’s plenty of opportunity for other, newer, more nimble and efficient players to come compete.