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Yahoo and the Newspapers--In Search of Business Model Innovation.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on November 21, 2006

The cover story on Kodak—Mistakes Made on the Road to Innovation—in the current issue of Inside Innovation, highlights the rush to change business models throughout industries. Nowhere is this most evident than in the newspaper space, where 176 newspapers just partnered up with Yahoo to exchange local news for placing local ads. Yahoo gets content and the papers get ad revenue.

Sounds good—for the short term. Newspapers get a new distribution system for what they produce and how they generate revenue. This is an important innovation for a fast-declining industry losing its readers and revenue.

But is it enough? Jeff Jarvis over at BuzzMachine thinks probably not. The new model—which we use at the Innovation & Design channel—is open sourcing content to get the very best anywhere and community-tizing your audience. Having a direct conversation with your audience and providing them with access and tools to deal with their own needs is crucial. We do that in the innovation/design space. That “content” includes direct communication with people in an open conversation.

Are newspapers doing that yet? Jarvis doesn’t think so. Nor do I.

Reader Comments

vaspers the grate

November 22, 2006 6:52 AM

Nobody wants those cheap paper, smeary ink rags anymore. They're doomed, dead already, disappearing. Good riddance.

Most online versions of newspapers that I've seen refuse to use hyperlinks, and relegate comments to a forum, detached from the thread of the story.

Nancy Munro

November 24, 2006 3:36 AM

I agree as well, as an innovation consultant and a contributing columnist for an international newspaper association's magazine, it's apparent that the newspaper industry's concept of innovation is still product focused and not business process focused. I recently conducted an informal poll asking a sample of members what the primary innovation blockers were for their indudstry. The majority of the responses recognized that the industries pressures for short term business results doesn't allow for introducing new business processes that at times may not provide immmediate financial results but desperately need to be imbedded into the culture if they are going to survive in the next twenty years.


November 24, 2006 7:45 PM

Bruce, have a look at my 11 minute video on innovative business models:

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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