Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Versioned Newspapers: Oce v HP v Screen . . . and maybe Kodak, Xerox and InfoPrint

I got an email last night that pointed out that at HP's event in Los Angeles,
O'Neil Data Systems, printed out personalized copies of today's Investor's Business Daily for the event.
Also a good post by Andrew Tribute over at PrintCeo.

Versioned newspapers have a window of about one year. First movers will have the market share. It's no longer about "if" or even "when." Once the game hits the ground, the question is where and who.

Consider Apple Computer and postscript.
Many, many years in the talking. Then in one year, desktop publishing appeared. Another couple of years, typesetters morphed. After another couple of years, color separation houses morphed.

Fast forward to today. Newspapers have been losing circulation since the 1970's. In 1993 the Mosaic browser opened the network to regular people and the world wide web morphed into the Internet. Starting in 2000, newspaper organizations took on huge debt. Then in 2008 it all came crashing down. Many trillions of dollars of "wealth" disappeared in a couple of months.

Newspapers are subject to the same Darwinian rules as everything else. Random mutations, competitive selection. The mutations have been appearing under the radar for years and are now ready to scale.

It really is time for the next big thing, because when everything else fails, even big organizations try something new.

Keep a close eye on the Amazon announcement this afternoon.
My bet is that it's going to include some deal with the New York Times and college textbook publishers. The real question is going to be the price. If the textbook folks can price their books at around $25 on the Kindle, it should work. If they can't figure out a business model that lets them price competitively, they will not be serious players in a couple of years. Replaced by the Flat World Knowledge business model.

Can K - 12 be far behind?

Sooner or later some of our globals will notice the failure in public education in the States. They will take seriously what the grown-ups in Washington are saying about reforming education. They will see how versioned newspapers can replace textbooks. It's not because textbooks are too expensive. But because textbooks are too slow and have the wrong customer. The customer is the student, not the teacher or the purchasing agent.

Meanwhile money seems to have noticed newspapers
Did anyone else notice what happened to McClatchey MNI and Gannet GCI stock prices yesterday? I added them to my IRA on April 15. At the time MNI was .5508 and GCI was 3.65. At the close yesterday, GCI was 4.93 and MNI was .75. So as of this morning, the IRA is about 33% to the good on those two.

You've gotta love Print.


  1. As a Canon channel partner, We are very excited to see this partnership!

  2. I don't blame you. If you can join Canon(USA) customer facing dna, with Oce manufacturing dna and I think you have the upper least for a while.

    My 2 cents: take a very close luck at the opportunities in the education space. I can't get away from the belief that if MPS gets connected to the web it's a way to fill the vacuum created by the growing disappearance of textbooks.