Todd Bishop has a very interesting article on comments made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an interview with the Washington Post yesterday. In short, he said on the future of print media, that they’ll be dead in a decade.

Here’s an excerpt:

“In the next 10 years, the whole world of media, communications and advertising are going to be turned upside down — my opinion.

Here are the premises I have. Number one, there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form.”

I find this an interesting story because back in 2000/2001 I worked for a company called Laughingstock, the independent comedy publisher. We got acquired by an uber dot.com that went by the name of Talkcast. Talkcast read like a whose who of the media/investment/telecomms industries. The leader of the gang when we joined was one Ellis Watson, ex right hand man to one Rupert Murdoch. Ellis was the most charismatic man I have ever met, he spoke with passion and pride, enthusiasm and complete confidence. One of his visions was that the online world would over take the printed word. Talkcast intended to create new brands for its media services rather than rely on traditional brands used on newspapers or television programmes. Ellis said to the Telegraph back in September 1999 that he believes that the new media will eventually be dominated by brands that do not even exist today. Talkcast was to publish a series of online magazines on everything from Health to Comedy.

It was an idea so ahead of its time in hindsight, but here we are again, 5 years later talking about the demise of print. Newspapers are already feeling the pinch from the online world and they surely are on borrowed time, no they wont all disappear but how many will be profitable? They will become little more than free ad sheets. If only Talkcast was launching now, it would probably be the hottest ticket in town.

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