Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Real News of the World

If you were Rupert Murdoch and you wanted to shift your operation away from ever more costly print and onto digital delivery, what are your challenges?

The biggest challenge so far is that the competition might well imagine it can persist and sell print - especially if one of the biggies like Murdoch decided to abandon the medium.

However, you also have a rather handy digital platform called "Sky" that is, effectively, a nicely growing monopoly of commercial TV where you control the manufacture of EVERY interface box, and increasingly significant in broadband delivery, where the only competition comes from the witless  ITV, and the smug BBC - still too far up itself busily wasting money, and no threat to advert-driven media as long as the BBC and ITV companies curiously continue to hide FreeSat away in a cupboard.

You've seen that the iPad and smart phone revolution has proved the possibility of a paperless future rather more suddenly than many expected. So then, one way or another, you want to wean your audience off print and into your digital domain.

How do you make life difficult (better still, impossible) for those who persist in print, and who you are certain will be running out of money as the UK economy continues to shrivel up??
Try this for a cunning plan...

You find yourself caught up in a mess, where one of your papers has been hounded by the Über-sanctimonious Guardian. You detect the public and political mood is for the blood of reptilian journalism, so you decide to make a really bold play, and allow the NotW to be at the centre of a wave of public revulsion that allows you to sweep in an dramatically shut it down, as an example of bold leadership and repentance.

You have already tasked "your people" with the job of chasing down every misdemeanour and dodgy tactic used by every other paper (because you already know there are so many other skeletons rattling away in those cupboards; and you have already listed some anyway "So let us remember that it was the Guardian that knowingly, deliberately and illegally forged a cabinet minister's signature to get an exclusive story."

You also continue digging into the backgrounds of those careless politicians who have shown themselves to be less than deferential and friendly in the course of this hounding.

The result is that the traditional press is reduced to a shambles, with the police now fully committed and obliged to arrest half of fleet street and subpoena VAST swathes of electronic records for every case going back 7 years? Can you imagine the enormity of the investigation that they are going to be obliged to pursue - or rightly stand accused of selective justice?

Your Sky TV and broadband network delivers the news and advertising (effectively for free in comparison to print) to the growing legions of screens and cheap tablet devices - using a virtual workforce that could mostly be based in a well-behaved and leak-proof enclave in the Bahamas, for all the readers know (or care).

Job done. Pour yourself a large Scotch....

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