At the beginning of my research on Vin Crosbie, admittedly having no idea of who he was, I was struck by the fact that there was a connection between him & the well known Irish newspaper, The Irish Times. I was curious to know what the connection was. After further delving into Vin Crosbie in much detail, the connection became much clearer to see. Crosbie is ranked as one of the of the world’s top newspaper consultants & it seems, saw the demise of traditional newspapers as we know them, long before the industry itself did.
Crosbie is both a consultant & educator in the field new media & how it affects media industries & media content.
To put his level of skill into context, when the Congressional Research Service in the US briefed members of the United State Congress about the crisis in the U.S. newspaper industry in 2010, the first person (as well as the only academic and only newspaper industry consultant) it quoted was Crosbie. Folio, the trade journal of the U.S. magazine industry, called Crosbie “the Practical Futurist.” Crosbie has certainly lived up to this title & has already earned his place in the history of the American newspaper industry.
It is clear to see now in 2012 what news media need to do in order to survive and profit during the 21st Century. Crosbie was ahead of his time back in 2008 to forecast the turmoil that was to follow in the global newspaper industry. In the initial change over from analog to digital, the global newspaper industry executives thought it would be as easy as transporting all of their usual content over to the online space. However the wrong strategies were applied to adapt to this change.
At the same time that this change was occurring, the economic climate was rapidly deteriorating. Newspaper sales were certainly feeling the effects of this downturn globally. But it is a far larger problem that Crosbie unfolded in a piece of work (in the form of a 3 part blog series)entitled:
“Transforming American Newspapers Part 1, 2 & 3”
In a very practical way, Crosbie quite matter-of-factly stated that the fundamental problem with American newspaper industry was that it continued to serve the same one size fits all type of offering that it always has, it just moved it from print to online. Newspapers basically continued to play the same game in the same way, even though the game itself & the rules of engagement had changed drastically.
Another fundamental problem highlighted by Crosbie, was how the industry viewed its revenue stream & valued its equity. They focused on the advertisers as their main revenue stream & essentially its customer, instead of the reader.Without the readers, there is no need for advertisers. So there primary focus should have always been their readers. When the industry was knocked on its head by introduction of new multimedia, convergence, interactivity, Web 2.0, etc. it merely tried to add a variety of these new forms of media in where they saw appropriate, instead of figuring out what the real problem was. Crosbie believes that a generically-aimed product such as the general-interest newspaper is no longer enough and it comes down to the simple fact that the micro economics of the supply & demand equation has changed. People now have so much access to information that they are almost overwhelmed by it. Readers only want to read the information that is of interest to them. Crosbie believes the solution lies in a new strategy; taking a more individualized approach to the content.