Felix Salmon weighing in on the HuffPost-AOL merger deal in his piece, “Why the NYT will lose to HuffPo.”
Fellow member ‘20’ member Anthony DeRosa says he’s not sure if he agrees.
My take: The driving force behind HuffPo’s success is the comments and feedback from readers, who send it along and add their own voices and thoughts on the topic. Although the Times site allows comments, it’s not as open or available. Despite being run and named after an extremely rich female, HuffPo is the true populist news site —and the reason why, I agree with Salmon, it will topple the Old Gray Lady.
I’m not sure I represent the majority of people since I never go to Huffington Post, despite the fact they’re one of the most frequently trafficked websites on the Internet.
I think the above comment by Felix is spot on, and is exactly why I avoid HuffPo like the plague. I work in Times Square and try to escape from it as quickly as possible. I do agree with Felix’s point that I don’t navigate around the NYT. I go there because I’m directed to single articles. I read the article and leave and wind up coming back many more times to read other single articles, but never seem to be led down a path from one story to another by the Times itself.
But does the sensory overkill on HuffPo work? The numbers speak for themselves. They get a ton of traffic and they’re profitable. Peter Feld defended the fact that people slam HuffPo for having 3,000+ unpaid bloggers. According to what I’ve heard, the paid staff is somewhere around 60 people.
Peter does make a solid point that we here on Tumblr are very much like that staff of 3,000 unpaid bloggers. When’s the last time Tumblr sent you a check for the billions of pageviews they received last month?
I’m fascinated with how “traditional” media industries - newspaper/magazine/publishing, music, TV/movies, web 1.0 (AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, Google) - are thinking about and REACTING TO the emergence of social media integrated apps, games, business, sites, etc. like The Huffington Post, Zynga games, Tumblr, etc.
It’s still strikes me as we approach nearly 20 years of digital that the media companies usual reactions follows a cyclical pattern of disfunction:
2. Ignoring early signs of success,
3. Looking for & latching onto the “me too” silver bullet gadget/retread business model,
4. Taking a half/wrong steps (e.g. DRM, paywalls, magazine/newspaper iPad apps),
5. Continuing their methodical death march towards obsolescence hoping their half/wrong steps will work,
6. Going back to step 1 when the next digital innovation occurs.
Influential VC’s and tumblr users Fred-Wilson and Bijan Sabet had interesting posts about music/movie piracy and their frustration at trying to buy content and not being able to because of backasswards attitude/ineptitude of traditional media companies.
Here’s the deal - while there will always be a market for purchased entertainment and information (Broadway/West End theatre, physical/digital music copies, print/digital information), they will all increasingly become smaller and more niche industries.
The challenge that has been obvious for well over a decade now: How should media companies best proactively plan, change, and innovate for inevitable massively disruptive technology advances? I’m talking about fundamental repositioning of their value proposition, what they do, how many people they employ, their revenue expectations, HOW CONTENT DEVELOPMENT IS FINANCED, and most importantly, how they create new valuable business models that are not retreads of what worked in the past while realizing that they may not be as BIG as record vinyl discs were in the 70s-80s or CDs in the 90s. All that’s over.
Unfortunately, my up close experience and work within these industries has shown me that the delusional cycle continues…and continues.