Digital deja vu

I just noticed, via the Editors’ Weblog, that the Dallas Morning News is going to insert CD-ROMs into the paper in April.

I don’t get it: Two old media equal a new medium? When was the last time you stuck a CD-ROM into your computer? Now this has allegedly been working in Europe, though I thought that was often for distribution of music CDs and Murdoch complains that it doesn’t permanently raise circulation:

It’s like magazines giving away sneakerphones to get you to subscribe…. or newspapers keeping TV listings to keep you subscribing. It’s not about the core product: news, local news. And there is a much better, more dynamic, less expensive, more personal way to delivery digital content: It’s called the internet.

The last great technological innovation from the Dallas Morning News, let’s remember, was the Cuecat.

  • There’s an old joke that a delivery truck full of AOL CDs driving 55Mph has more bandwidth than a high end fiber-optic internet backbone. Maybe they’ll put some HTML on the disk and quote web traffic based on their paper circulation :)

    Tivo is working on some AJAX enabled TV listings…
    Kinda slow and funky but it is beta software.

  • Meanwhile, the “Ads by Yahoo!” on the right of this site are now all for subscriptions to GQ magazine. Great work, “new media.”

  • I read this website alot, and alway’s notice that your quick with the nondisclosure when it comes to your consulting.

    Just curious why you choose to link to the banner dancing site that is when in reality it is just wikipedia content?

  • Ahh, hell… reason 437 why I wish I didn’t live in Dallas. Time to head back down to Austin…

  • Matt…
    It’s accidental because when I use my Firefox search box to look up definitions and such, I switch to Answers and that’s what was on when I looked up a funny word in a BBC story I link to below. I was looking up fissiparious. And, lazy SOB that I am, I didn’t change it.
    However…… Full-disclosure alert…. I do know the founder of and I am friends with a VC who invested in Answers, Ed Sim (we served on the Moreover board togther), and we once talked about my serving on the board of Answers (but I’m not because my employer at the time didn’t want me on the board of a public company).
    Whew, I’m exhausted. Disclosure is so tiring.
    But the link to Answers in this case was accidental, though I do think they are a handy permalink to topics.

  • Could giving away a CD-ROM just be a strategic effort on the newspapers part, to compete with news websites and search engines that are siphoning away their readership?

  • JBK

    Er, maybe not everyone in Dallas, or in many parts of this country for that matter, owns a computer, or can pay $20 a month for Internet access. I’m sure not in your little circle, but it’s just a thought.

  • Andy Freeman

    If they don’t own a computer, what are they going to do with the CD-ROM?

    Maybe the CD-ROM contains some sort of DRM that keeps folks from seeing “unauthorized” content?

  • Yesterday The Guardian (in the UK, where this type of promotion proliferates) gave away a free DVD copy of the cult film; The Wicker Man.
    The London Sunday Times last week gave away a free DVD of Donnie Darko.
    Mark Lawson (from The Guardian) has some good analysis of why newspapers (including News Corps despite Murdoch’s cynicism and including The Guardian despite its flourishing online arm) just can’t get enough of it.,,1711895,00.html

  • Aw, hell, you can’t link to the DMN *editor’s blog* and then say their last innovation was the CueCat — who else has an editor’s blog for you to link to? Besides, having venture capitalists pay to send barcode readers to geeks seems damn close to altruism to me. :)

  • In Bulgaria they bribe us with DVDs and books….