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Future news organisations, the ones that make it out of the recession, will look much different than pre-recession times. They'll be smaller and leaner. But if they're smart, they'll also have a big role in VC for companies developing products that could help them gain a competitive advantage.

The above graphic comes a post at Silicon Alley Insider, which they took from business-networking site Meet The Boss. I'm a big fan of data visualisation because in most cases it illustrates a story better than some actual articles do.

Why this graphic is important is it shows how far Amazon has come since 1998. It gobbles up companies that its executives believe will give it a competitive advantage. That's all they care about, customer service aside, so it makes sense that they're acutely aware of developments in their spheres of influence.

My question: Why can't news organisations do the same? They're a business just like Amazon is a business. Each actively seeks to gain a competitive upper-hand. As the news industry slowly drifts into the web as a primary outlet, it would make sense that they seek out the companies that could get them to where they need to be.

Think about it this way: What if The Daily Telegraph had bought TwitJobs? It would have given the paper a real presence in the growing arena of Twitter job ads and would have been a new revenue stream. How about GumTree? Or MoveFlat? There exist many opportunities to interweave news content alongside products like this, which would increase uniques and page views. Not only that, the income from fees placing ads and from third-party advertisers would be considerable.

Finding where these companies are is as easy as walking out the door and to one of the many networking events that London's entrepreneurs have on a weekly and monthly basis. Last week I went to an event called "DrinkTank" in London hosted by Huddle.net, an online platform for online workspaces . The bar was bustling with local talent, each developing a unique product for the web.

Ignoring the availability of so much talent is a huge mistake. Web-focused journalism requires new thinking. The first to dip their toe into the bustling entrepreneur scene will have an advantage over their competitors. 

Ben LaMothe

Published 28 July, 2009 by Ben LaMothe

Ben LaMothe is a web & social media strategist with Florida-based advertising and marketing consultancy Renaissance Creative. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)

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Nico

The reason media companies don't just gobble up "good idea" startups is their massive internal resistance by vested interests:

"we can do this better", "we can do it cheaper", "it doesn't work we tried it before", "let's wait and see if it becomes a longterm opportunity" etc. Typically voiced by IT heads in the case of tech, or new media execs in the case of web 2.0 and the like. Fear factor, like what if these new guys really know their stuff??

Now for the small companies NOT being bought, that might not be a bad thing - because the other issue is what happens once the cool dynamic new web service is part of the big family? Usually nothing much.

PS ITV did buy Friendsreunited - not the best move it seems in hindsight.

almost 7 years ago

Ben LaMothe

Ben LaMothe, Web & Social Media Strategist at Renaissance Creative

Hi Nico:

What I was trying to express is that news organisations should begin to act more like businesses. I understand the internal resistance to perceived vested interests. However I believe organisations stand to gain more than they would lose by snapping up small start-ups who could bring a new perspective to how they do business. 

almost 7 years ago

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