Does That Come with Champagne?

October 17th, 2007

I was reading an article on today about the new Fox Business News, when an item at the bottom of the page from their “Keep an Eye On” section caught my eye.

Philadelphia hometown PR pro turned newsman Brian Tierney, (Publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and was quoted in an interview with PRNewser saying that in ten years not only will print newspapers still be around, but they will quintuple in price to $2.50.

Interesting.  This inflated price estimate really got me thinking. Why would people pay a premium to read outdated news on unruly papers when they can get up-to-the-minute developments for free on their phone or computer?

Maybe Brian saw EPIC 2014 from the Museum of Media History in Florida.  In it, the creator Robin Sloan hypothesizes a world in which The New York Times has gone offline and is now only available in print to the wealthy and the elite.  Is this what Brian sees for the future of the Inquirer and the Daily News as well?  Or is it more simple – will people pay the same for newspapers as they pay for glossy magazines?

There’s a book by Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan called Simply Better.  They argue that what people really want are “better products, reliable services, and fair value for money,” not marketing tricks or flashy features.  It’s a lesson that many newspaper organizations should take to heart.

In 10 years, would you pay $2.50 for a newspaper that does real investigative journalism and breaks stories that are smart, insightful and exclusive?  Probably.  Would you pay for reporting you can trust and commentary that gets you thinking?  Sure.  Would you pay for a newspaper with more Suduko puzzles?  Probably not.  There are plenty of other places you can go for that, and you can get them for less than $2.50.

The future of the news may be in paper, but if I’m going to pay $2.50 for the Inquirer, I’m going to need a drink with that.

Posted Under: Greater Philadelphia, Media & Journalism
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