THE BLOG
09/10/2010 12:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The New Power Girls: Five Reasons Print Media Is Failing On The Internet And How To Avoid It With Your Business

The first game of the NFL season plays in the background as I sit down to work on the talk I'll be giving at next week's Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association (PNNA) Conference. I'm just nursing a wicked throat infection as I lean back in my Los Angeles-area living room. I predict the Saints will take the game by seven on my Twitter feed. The holiday makes it feel as if its Monday despite that its Thursday. I think about whether I will be well enough for my 10:30am tomorrow, and what I'm going to wear for the speaking event so that I'm prepared for the trip. It's a typical evening for most Power Girls I know -- a juggle between work, play, life and business, and of course, how to dress the part.

Content business is one that I've been familiar with for a long time. I worked concurrently in the market for nearly as long as internet telecom engineering and platform (TV, radio, phone, etc.) business, almost my entire adult working life. I founded a pioneering social media start-up, and currently own a startup in cross platform content production (TV, media, internet) and business.

A lot of what I'll say at the PNNA talk may be things people haven't heard or considered.

For example, that (1) contrary to what business believes, the content business has not in many decades been an ad-only marketplace, or otherwise free to users. I've studied the history of content over platforms and across markets such as media and television. The predominant revenue model has always been an ad/subscription hybrid, particularly in print. Go ahead and check it. Or, that (2) people are going to pay for content (and services) on the internet because people already do -- and have for ten years. Content business has always been user-driven. Nobody holds a gun to your head to buy and read The Economist.

I'll talk about how (3) newspapers have not in at least three decades been solely about news, as news has always been a commodity. Pick up any newspaper from the 70s, 80s, etc. and you'll find that it's a mix of news, features, sports, business, profiles -- even comics. I'll also share that (4) not only does the internet offer print media (newspapers and magazines) potential new and exciting opportunities and revenue, the industry is at an advantage over startups on the web: They've got an established audience.

It's a lot easier to move an audience than to build one from scratch. Anybody who says print media (newspapers/print) doesn't have opportunity in the internet marketplace is misleading you.

And (5) -- the media industry has gotten itself in trouble in part because its not had to marry an audience to a new platform in a very long time, and second, that it has been listening to an industry (internet business) that has no real experience or history in content business. The internet business is full of smart people, but do a historical look at it and very few of those in the industry have any real background in content, media or television business.

Would you take direction or advice on how to take a medication or perform a surgery from someone who has no experience in either? Exactly.

How to avoid these and other pitfalls whether you're in content or another business on the internet is by understanding that the business of doing business over platforms, be it content or services, has set, established rules that have endured disruption countless times -- and will with the internet as well.

Ignore what everybody says and work to build your audience, and charge for your product. There has only been ONE market that has championed the idea of giving away what costs money -- and we all see the outcome happening there.

Get more insight and information about the internet and the future ahead at Patricia's CEO blog, DailyPatricia.com