Friday, March 14, 2008

2028: The year the newspaper dies

An interesting day all round yesterday (and I don't just mean the sale of Bebo).
But since I've raised it, £417m for Bebo? How much money did it make last year? Not close to a 10th as much as emap did - (the consumer media part I work for sold for £1.14bn last month to Bauer.
So why did Bebo sell at this point? Because it could. Now it's someone else's problem to monetise its social network.
This comes in a day when I hear Microsoft's Alex Marks (at ABCE's conference at the Emirates Stadium in London) draw on a global survey the firm has conducted to predict the death of the daily newspaper in 20 years.
In 10 years the first big daily will close... Microsoft predicts. Gloomy if you're in the print news business - but not entirely unexpected. To be honest, 10 years for the first death seems surprisingly long. As Bill Gates says, we overestimate the amount of change that will happen in the next two years, and underestimate the amount in 10 years.
Better news for other print media, from Microsoft: glossies, weekend editions (weeklies then?), books, longer lean back/experiential reads with less focus on immediacey have no need for alarm, Alex told us (an audience from a mostly print background).
Hmmm. Raises questions for the Bebo valuation for me when you compare it with the emap price, doesn't it?

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?