August 26, 2003

Newspaper's Newest Section: A CD

To steal directly from the lead of this Guardian story: "At last, a genuine newspaper innovation."

Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Times hopes to add to its 1.3 million circulation with a once-a-month CD insert designed to attract younger readers. According to the Guardian, the entertainment-oriented CD, entitled the Month, will contain "25,000 words of text, movie and music clips, filmed interviews, DVD offers, games previews and listings."

John Witherow, editor of the $10 million project, explains the thinking behind the CD:

"We wanted to achieve a fusion between the two spheres, editorial and commercial, and gradually the CD-rom idea seemed the perfect vehicle. It enhances what we do in the paper but also allows us to take it on to another level."

(I'm granting Witherow a pass on his excitement for fusing the "editorial and commercial" and assuming he was referring to nothing more nefarious than the potentially profitable revenue opportunity the CD provides.)

It is exciting to see a newspaper realize that its greatest asset is its ability to produce content, not the method by which it is distributed. Newspapers must extend their distribution across platforms to reach new audiences and offer potential readers an option of entry points to their products.

Thus far, most newspapers have used the newest medium - the Internet - to do little more than re-publish their print pages and have not developed new products specifically for the Web.

As the Guardian points out: "The Month is very different from the usual paper add-ons, a significant nod towards the electronic age which, if it catches on, will surely be quickly imitated by rivals."

(Thanks to I Want Media.)

 Guardian A newspaper revolution?

Posted by Tim Porter at August 26, 2003 09:14 AM