SHOCKED! That’s how many in the media industry felt upon the announcement that the Grahams, whose family had owned the Washington Post - one of the world’s most prestigious newspapers - since 1933, was selling their title for $250 million. Even more shocking was the buyer, a complete outsider to the newspaper industry: Amazon.com founder and digital icon, Jeff Bezos.
For many years, quality newspapers were supported by a healthy business model. The mission of newspapers may have been to inform and delight readers, but commercially, they were ad platforms, brilliant means by which marketers could reach valuable audiences.
“We are moving from a news business to a networked business.” So wrote Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times, in a January 2013 memo to his staff, pushing them to embrace the “new avenues and platforms for the richer delivery and sharing of information” offered by the internet.