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Andreessen Calls Sell on Old Media July 16, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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Co-founder of Netscape Marc Andreessen knows a thing or two about new media, having made hundreds of millions of dollars off the Web as co-author of Mosaic (the first widely used web browser) Granted he’s no fan of old media, but when his call is to sell, you’d better listen.

Keeping his death watch for old media, Andreessen told last week’s media conference in Sun Valley, Utah: “If you own newspapers, sell; if you own TV stations, sell; if you own a movie studio, sell.” That’s supposed to be “off record” but who are we kidding in a 2.0 world?

In a panel session titled “Looking Around the Corner to the Future” – which is closed to the press – Andreessen told the movers and shakers from the “old media” world, that non-digital businesses are toast.

A perfect media storm swirls around a fundamental rethink at the long term value of traditional media assets. Prospects for publishing companies struggling under mountains of debt grow dimmer as their web strategy stalls.

There is now a clear sense in the market signals that print is not coming back. And even TV. But then, a decade ago television mogul Moses Znaimer loudly proclaimed the Death of Books. Still for old media, don’t expect a precipitating death knell. It will more likely be a death of a thousand cuts.

Let’s not forget that doing journalism and making money from journalism are different things. Which is dying? Journalism or the old way of monetizing content? if monetization is the measure, then the likes of Ning, Facebook and company aren’t doing great either.

Much of new media taps journalistic content from “old media” and both need to make money though with different expectations (old media companies have shareholders). If you’re building a brand, your options include: tv, radio, print, outdoor, direct mail, display ads, online video, social networks, email marketing, mobile, etc.

You will use anything that best helps you build your brand, reach the right folks, and grow the business. Media companies that realize this and adapt to include new products and marketing vehicles will grow or maintain their paying customers.

Seems the stock market is listening. Gannett closed Tuesday at an 18-year low of $17.17 and McClatchy, getting yet another Standard & Poors rating pushing its debt even deeper into junk territory, closed at $4.79, meaning its market capitalization is just $394 million.

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