Newspapers are on a long, sad death spiral. The rise of the Kindle leads reactionary publishers to eye the failed journey of the music business as a model for how to throw tantrums and demand protection for an existing business model on their way to oblivion.
I don't have the answer but I suspect it lies in rethinking what is advertising and what is value people are willing to pay for. I was thinking about music videos which started out as advertising for recordings. Although music videos can be useful tools in selling music, they no longer do much for selling recordings. In this digital era, recordings now serve as advertisements for live concerts in many cases. Recordings can be pirated, experiences cannot.
Publishers, like record companies, seem fixated on being paid for developing and packaging content. Fair or not, consumers have made it pretty clear that they don't see value in that proposition and are no longer willing to pay for it. Therefore, content creators and publishers need to figure out what their content and value-added production and packaging can sell.
iTunes did a great job for years of selling iPods until Amazon figured out how to sell iPods, any other MP3 player, content and Amazon itself much as they are doing with the Kindle. Now apps sell iPods and iPhones and iPhones sell AT&T cell phone service. Cell phone service, other than at the margins, is equally unpleasant regardless of which carrier you choose. There is not much to differentiate carriers other than price for the majority of consumers. Except if you want an iPhone.
Eric Pfanner at The New York Times is musing along the same lines: Pay Walls Alone Won't Save Newspapers.
How about you - any bright ideas on how content, publishing and value can be rethought and what they could sell other than packaged content itself?