The New News Tycoons: Who Are They, and Are They Here to Stay?

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Still Plenty of Room for Traditional Players and New Influencers

While niche news providers continue to make a strong impact in the news business, it’s fair to say that the traditional news providers aren’t going away any time soon. That doesn’t mean some changes aren’t in order. A renewed focus on analysis and other value-added content is in order in the face of breaking news on Twitter.

There are some places, Strempel says, where bloggers just can’t compete. They don’t have, and can’t really gain, access to the wealth of content professional publishers create and sell. Essentially, the bloggers in many business markets just provide some ancillary content—mainly analysis—that only compliments the information provided by the market leaders.

“There’s not a blogger out there who’s writing information that would compete with what’s on LexisNexis,” says Strempel. “[They’re offering] commentary, opinion, and in some cases, analysis. [For instance,] a few months ago when Bloomberg bought BNA and boosted its legal publishing, you saw a lot of blogs talking about what this might mean for [West, a Thomson Reuters business] and LexisNexis, the two dominant players who have a database of legal knowledge. No one would be able to blog legal information that someone would want to search.”

A Broader, More Robust News Landscape

It may be impossible to crown a new Content King, but the influx of new media players, along with the mainstay news providers, is serving to provide readers with an extremely diverse choice of information sources. Whatever the topic or length of the article—whether a reader is looking strictly for news or added commentary—consumers can find exactly what they want, whenever they want it.

Greenler Sexton says there is certainly room for everyone: the traditional news providers, the aggregators, and the bloggers. “I do think that there are very thoughtful news providers out there that will continue to provide very thoughtful news,” she says. “You have these aggregators who are helping people skim everything and keep up with [the news]. You’re going to have the ‘news of the moment’ or the ‘tycoons of the day.’ You’ll also have very thoughtful writers who might be setting up their own blogs and building very thoughtful businesses out of it.

“A lot of the traditional players shouldn’t be counted out because they have resources and they have a lot of talent,” says Greenler Sexton. “They’re going to find a way to thrive in this new world. So those traditional moguls, I wouldn’t count them out either.”

In years past, technology could only enable the companies large enough to afford it. That is certainly not the case anymore. Today’s technology, such as that which powers social media, is easily accessible to anyone who wants to publish content. “I think how people consume content has drastically changed and that’s because of the dynamic of all this great technology,” says Greenler Sexton. “It’s created tremendous opportunity for many players, not just the few who have been able to afford the large production side of the content business.”

With the tremendous adoption rate of mobile devices and tablets, Greenler Sexton says content providers of all sizes will continue to proliferate. “There are a lot of different ways people can make money from great content,” she says. “This is the new normal. I think there is great opportunity for the large, traditional players and the new upstarts. I think there is room for everybody, for those who are aggressive and nimble and really embrace all of this change.”

It seems that the business of content has changed forever. The days of news empires are on their way out, and instead, communities are springing up all across the landscape.

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