Social commerce: Itunes for journalism!


A problem that newspapers have to deal with is the fact that ‘old fashioned newspapers’ are facing competition from online competitors. Especially the younger generation uses the world wide web to read about world problems as Syria or the economic crisis. Some critics say that traditional newspapers (printed on paper) will disappear within the next ten years.

Is this true? And how can the traditional newspapers cope with this problem? Well, there might be a solution to this problem: Blendle. An app that brings the news together. One of the founders (Alexander Klöpping) was on the television show ‘De wereld draait door’ a week ago. The clip beneath will show how Blendle works (unfortunately it’s a Dutch show).

For those who don’t speak Dutch I will summarize this clip. Blendle is designed as solution to the fact that the ‘younger generation’ doesn’t want to pay for news anymore. With Blendle you can see through all (Dutch) newspapers and select items you find interesting.  The example that is used in the clip shows that with a few simple clicks you can browse through the newspapers and look for the columnists or news-genre you like. Then you can buy this news item (for between €0,10 and €0,90) and add them to your ‘personal newspaper’. You are also allowed to share this articles on Facebook or Twitter, so you can let your friends now what keeps you bussy and vice versa. When you want to read an article that one of your friends liked or shared you still have to pay the fee for that article. The difference between Blendle and free newssites, stated in the clip, is that the articles from the traditional newspapers are made by proffesional journalists and thereby are of higher quality. 

So why would the newspapers like NRC of ‘de Volkskrant’ join this concept? As stated in the clip newspapers see this ‘app’ as an adition to what they already offer. They are not afraid (yet) about the fact that the newspaper made of ink and paper will disappear. (Althought they didn’t use arguments to explain why they think they won’t). Thereby they can earn money by selling single articles and have options to offer subscriptions to users who frequently buy their articles. 

So is this the solution to all the problems traditional newspapers are facing? Or is there no problem at all? I think this app will certainly bring extra revenues to the newspaper companies. As we have experienced with, for example, Spotify and Netflix, people want to pay for services that are easily accessible although music and films are downloadable for free on the internet. And those services offer identical services as the free ones do (for example a song made by Jay-Z remains a song made by Jay-Z and thereby the exact same thing). But when it comes to the articles made by professional journalists, I think that they will have a superior quality over the articles made by free news sites.

The problem focuses on the younger generation. This generation is very familiar with internet services and I think this connects this generation with the ‘old concept’ of newspapers. As many people of this generation already use social media to express themselves and connect with others. 

What do you guys think? Is news just not meant for the younger generation? Or is this the way for newspaper companies to keep up? And why?

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