Belgian Media Grinding to a Halt? Big Time.

A few weeks ago I purchased a Kindle, an e-reader for books, newspapers and blogs. I was quite amazed by the usability of my new gadget: I can read tons of books and subscribe to lots of newspapers… except Belgian newspapers. What once was an asset turns out to be a liability.

Pinch

I pinched myself in the arm and checked the calendar: Why is my favorite newspaper De Standaard not available on Kindle in December 2009?

In an automated answer, they were kind enough to share a recent article explaining their point of view. Upon reading it I had to pinch myself a second time: “Corelio is waiting for e-readers that are easy to use and that can download the newspaper wireless.

Duh… looks like I am holding one of those in my hands, allowing me to subscribe wireless…

Here is a company whose unavoidable future I am holding in my hands, in a size as thin as most magazines and a weight lighter than a paperback book. The problem: Belgian newspapers are missing, unlike the French, German or UK newspapers (and even tabloids).

Switch

For several years Jef Staes has been pointing at the element ‘information’ as a competitive advantage. He calls it Switch 2D-3D. The moral of his story: ‘You can’t solve today’s problems with the tools and mindsets of yesterday’. Below you will find a one-minute interview with Jef Staes that was recorded during the bi-annual VOV-beurs for training & development. In 60 seconds he makes an intriguing point on how the Belgian economy is grinding to a halt: a complacent attitude towards information as a resource.

In the Middle of Crisis lies Opportunity

Those who look at information as a resource will be the ones to compete on the edge. This is December 2009. In any organization – regardless of the sector – people struggle to make sense of information. Smart companies know that and seize the opportunity.

Unfortunately, things are not looking OK for Corelio. I don’t know much about the media landscape, but I know one thing: information should be their core business.

Not so when you open Corelio’s website. The one thing hitting you in the eye is the sentence “Printing is one of Corelio’s core activities“.

WTF? Since when? And for how long? Until they get rescued by the government? Time has come to understand that “Established 1914” is no longer important. Instead, it has become a liability.

___________

Related Articles:

- Organisations in Search of a New Balance – Part 1 – November 12th, 2009
-
A conflict isn’t always a bad thing – Part 5 – January 12th, 2009
- My Inconvenient Truth – part 1 – May 18th, 2008

  • http://www.monkeyman.be/ Jan Fabry

    One of the reasons may be the revenue sharing model: according to the publisher of the Dallas Morning News, Amazon wants 70 percent of the profit [ http://paidcontent.org/article/419-dallas-morning-news-tells-senate-amazon-kindle-terms-onerous/ ] (compare this to Apple, which takes 30 percent of music and app sales through iTunes). Yes, information should be available as easily as possible, but information can have a price, and if the transaction costs are too high, sellers can choose to leave the market.

  • http://www.monkeyman.be Jan Fabry

    One of the reasons may be the revenue sharing model: according to the publisher of the Dallas Morning News, Amazon wants 70 percent of the profit [ http://paidcontent.org/article/419-dallas-morning-news-tells-senate-amazon-kindle-terms-onerous/ ] (compare this to Apple, which takes 30 percent of music and app sales through iTunes). Yes, information should be available as easily as possible, but information can have a price, and if the transaction costs are too high, sellers can choose to leave the market.

  • Luc Galoppin

    @Jan

    Thanks for this link and this argument. 70% is indeed a huge setback and I doubt if Corelio would have more power than the Dallas Morning News or the US government.

    However, I still wonder if that justifies:
    1. the attitude of ‘waiting’ (never seen any company, industry or nation thrive on ‘waiting’);
    2. espousing that ‘pinting’ is your core business when you are an information provider in an information-propelled age.

    Cheers,
    Luc

  • Luc Galoppin

    @Jan

    Thanks for this link and this argument. 70% is indeed a huge setback and I doubt if Corelio would have more power than the Dallas Morning News or the US government.

    However, I still wonder if that justifies:
    1. the attitude of ‘waiting’ (never seen any company, industry or nation thrive on ‘waiting’);
    2. espousing that ‘pinting’ is your core business when you are an information provider in an information-propelled age.

    Cheers,
    Luc

  • Tom

    please, de dag dat er een deftige e-reader met kleurenscherm op de markt is wil ik die best eens proberen, maar tot nu toe is het als of je een krant van 1933 in je handen hebt. Total bollocks die Kindle.

  • Tom

    please, de dag dat er een deftige e-reader met kleurenscherm op de markt is wil ik die best eens proberen, maar tot nu toe is het als of je een krant van 1933 in je handen hebt. Total bollocks die Kindle.

  • Luc Galoppin

    @Tom – I agree with you that the format isn’t yet where it should be. But what if it were … would that safeguard De Standaard and the entire newspaper business from falling apart?

    For example, would the new Sports Illustrated – Tablet Demo 1.5 safeguard the sports editors from a diminishing business? (See link: http://ow.ly/Mm2J )

    I think NOT! The newspaper industry is dying because they are no longer needed. They are the middleman between us and the news itself. What we really want is “news,” not “newspapers”. With the newest technology available to anyone anytime for free a middleman is no longer needed.

    For an extremely interesting article on this topic that paints a clear picture of the future of newspaper business go to Baekdal: http://ow.ly/Mm6u (it just appeared yesterday)

    Anyway – the point I’m trying to make is that ‘waiting’ is an attitude that is dangerous and harmful for the future of a newspaper company.

    A slight sense of urgency would be appropriate for Corelio and its competitors (note: I pick on Corelio for they seem to be having the biggest marketshare in the Belgian media landscape. Nothing more, nothing less)

    No doubt about it: we will be blogging some more about this rupture in 2010!

    Luc

  • Luc Galoppin

    @Tom – I agree with you that the format isn’t yet where it should be. But what if it were … would that safeguard De Standaard and the entire newspaper business from falling apart?

    For example, would the new Sports Illustrated – Tablet Demo 1.5 safeguard the sports editors from a diminishing business? (See link: http://ow.ly/Mm2J )

    I think NOT! The newspaper industry is dying because they are no longer needed. They are the middleman between us and the news itself. What we really want is “news,” not “newspapers”. With the newest technology available to anyone anytime for free a middleman is no longer needed.

    For an extremely interesting article on this topic that paints a clear picture of the future of newspaper business go to Baekdal: http://ow.ly/Mm6u (it just appeared yesterday)

    Anyway – the point I’m trying to make is that ‘waiting’ is an attitude that is dangerous and harmful for the future of a newspaper company.

    A slight sense of urgency would be appropriate for Corelio and its competitors (note: I pick on Corelio for they seem to be having the biggest marketshare in the Belgian media landscape. Nothing more, nothing less)

    No doubt about it: we will be blogging some more about this rupture in 2010!

    Luc

  • http://www.reply-mc.com/ Luc Galoppin

    And here is another summary of tablets announced by newspapers for 2010. Although they are still copying old concepts into new media AT LEAST THEY ARE NOT "WAITING" as our Belgian fellows at Corelio: http://ow.ly/NX4X In my humble opinion we will be blogging about unemployment instead of tablet features when it comes to the Belgian media landscape.

  • http://www.reply-mc.com Luc Galoppin

    And here is another summary of tablets announced by newspapers for 2010. Although they are still copying old concepts into new media AT LEAST THEY ARE NOT "WAITING" as our Belgian fellows at Corelio: http://ow.ly/NX4X

    In my humble opinion we will be blogging about unemployment instead of tablet features when it comes to the Belgian media landscape.

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