The past week’s news,
unfortunately, brought more bad news for the publishing industry. The Kansas
City Star eliminated about 50 jobs. Active Interest Media, the South Bend Tribune and the Omaha World Herald
also made staff cuts, and
the Raleigh News Observer even eliminated delivery jobs.
major city papers and local ones, but local publications are being hit
especially hard. It's probably significant that the API finally, officially declared a crisis in newspapers.
Some media outlets,
however, are taking steps toward survival by branching out into other outlets.
Gannett purchased Ripple 6, a social media firm, and the Financial Times
completely revamped its Web site. . Look for more and more
publishing companies to be pushing people toward their online editions (even
the Old Gray Lady, the New York Times, is running “all the news that’s fit to
click” commercials for its Web site) and go multimedia. This is an industry
that’s getting hard-hit by a perfect storm of emerging technologies and a lousy
economy, but at the same time, it’s heartening to see that it refuses to
The economy as a whole
continued to be a not-quite-cheery subject: we found out that unemployment
levels are the same as after 9/11. Foreclosures are up and the bailout isn't going as planned.
continued to boom, and they were all in the high-tech arena. Video-related news
was everywhere. Huge venture capital investments went to online video/video
publishing firms Mobile Video and Digitalsmiths, while the leader in online
video, YouTube, got an even bigger boost when it was announced that Obama’s
weekly “fireside chats,” traditionally offered via radio, would be posted on
the site. Google, meanwhile, announced it would enter the video chat arena. Old saw Blockbuster made a
move toward futuristic movie delivery with an announcement of a set-top box for
movies on demand.
Cell phones/mobile devices
continue to expand like crazy, with Verizon Wireless getting ready to strike a
$500 million deal with Microsoft for search services, Apple announcing better
gaming software in the future of the iPhone, Electronic Arts
synchronizing console and phone versions of Tiger Woods Golf and Opera launching a new mobile device browser.
however, are going through a bumpy period, with Circuit City officially filing
for bankruptcy and Best Buy announcing a drop in sales. Their fortunes will
probably reverse themselves when the economy recovers – at least in the case of
Best Buy – but it’s still worth keeping an eye on.
Finally, the gaming industry was in the news as always. The
Blogging Stocks blog pooh-poohed the idea of an EA/Disney merger, which was
championed by the Wall Street Journal. Sega's A&R content head
Darren Williams slammed the Wii, comparing it to an expensive board game, strangely disrespectful considering the amount of Sega properties on Wii and DS – and a potential sign of a change of pace for Sega?
The bottom line this week:
Things are still bad, but there’s still pathways to fame and fortune,
especially if one embraces forward-thinking technology. Companies in danger of
becoming dinosaurs – traditional newspapers, Blockbuster – are learning this.
And the right piece of technology at the right time can even made you a
multimillionaire in this climate – just ask Rock Band creators Harmonix, who
will get a bonus of more than $150 million each for developing their megahit