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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - March 2012

2015: The Transformation of the Newspaper

The problem you need to solve is one of relevancy. The newspaper industry is like the mobile phone business of 2004, everyone is doing the same thing, so all you need to do is to change the model.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote the article "RESET: What If You Could Start Again?" In it I encouraged you to define what your world would be like if you could start *again*, from scratch, in 2015. As an example I promised to look at three different industries, starting with newspapers.

What would you have to do if you were to start a newspaper in 2015?

Redefining the newspaper

In defining a business model and designing a newspaper in 2015, from scratch, we need to put down some ground rules.

You would have no print to support, no built-up brand value, no existing customer base, and most important of all, no legacy workforce or infrastructure to protect. You have to think of this as if you are new to the market.

Also, because we are in 2015, the new 'normal' is that it is digital, ultra-connected, social, and people are using multiple devices without even thinking about it. That means we have no specific reading modes or schedules.

Those are the ground rules.

The first question to ask is why? Why would you create a newspaper in 2015? Why would people read it?

For any product to be successful, it has to either solve a problem or fill a need - or both. What problem or need do you fill in 2015?

The newspaper world has always competed on one thing: to do more. But in a connected world with millions of articles and often several thousand stories for each topic, doing more is not really a useful business plan.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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