How to Thrive in a Dying Industry. Leveraging the Power of Disruption to Shift Your Company

Written by on April 19, 2017

Are there standards or patterns in your industry that are driving your company? Are they effective or relevant in today’s market? Many industry norms will change or disappear as change starts to increase moving forward. You have to constantly be looking at the industry trends to decide whether it is shrinking, growing and by how much.

The Death of Print Media…. SSSHHHH Don’t Tell Newspapers

If you are in the Newspaper industry you have probably seen the numbers. Since 2001 half of all newspaper jobs have disappeared. In 2010 the newspaper industry saw a mere $41billion in revenue. which was a -35.9% decline since 2000. As of last year, the revenue of the US newspaper publishing industry has dropped to less than 30.5billion. The number of newspaper establishments in 2010 was 6,126. Since 2000, there has been a loss of over 28% of newspaper businesses. We saw an additional loss of -17.6% by 2016. The newspaper industry is becoming what Tony Robbins identifies at Business Mastery as a dying industry. Each business and each industry has a stage of development. Knowing what stage you and your industry are in allows you to anticipate opportunities and challenges down the road.

What does that mean for the newspaper industry? It means that their industry is shrinking. But an even better question would be to ask, what does a newspaper do to thrive? Let’s look at a newspaper that has seen growth while others are closing their doors. Let’s look at the Huffington Post.

Huffington is Not in the Newspaper Business

In 2013 the Huffington Post recorded one of their most significant increases in audience reach. The then President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington reported, “2013 has been the most exciting year of growth for The Huffington Post. We launched our first international edition just over two years ago, and today we are in nine countries that comprise half of the world’s GDP, with Brazil, South Korea, and India launching in early 2014, and 44 percent of our traffic coming from outside the US. As we take our platform wider across the globe, we’re also going deeper in terms of the stories we tell.”

Huffington understands they are in the story telling business not the newspaper business. They developed a deeper understanding of what they do and how they impact their environment. Paper was just another medium to transmit that story. When you leverage the internet, you actually have the capacity to reach a wider audience and tell a much richer story.

Her overall audience increased by 21% in 2013 and hit a record-breaking 84 million unique views (UV) worldwide . Just in case you’re keeping score, that is massive reach. If you were the guy at AOL that facilitated their purchase, you were getting some pats on the back. By 2015 they had grown to over 200m UV’s a month. Pretty radical shift from the rest of the industry. Especially for a company that had only been around for 10 years. But the question is why is Huffington seeing massive growth and other papers are seeing a decline?

Welcome the the Shift Age

Now the shift has begun. The digital newspaper industry is a early victim of this age. Futurist David Houle wrote in his book The Shift Age that we are moving out of the information age and into what is being defined as, “The Shift Age”. Change has become a constant, and is speeding up. We are entering an age where shift is just a reality we all have to deal with.

If your company isn’t vigilant regarding strategically positioning the brand and company, the rules you use to define yourself will eventually imprison you. Most newspapers are scrambling to find a way to keep their old model alive. What they don’t know is that the standards have changed. The map has changed. The game they thought they were playing, they were actually never playing all along. With the internet giving many the ability to find out news before many reporters do, what is the purpose of getting a paper delivered to your door? For newspapers to survive, they need to embrace the changes and look at how their old standards and patterns are locking them out of providing value to their clients.

You Have to Embrace Change

The Huffington Post has embraced change. Have you? They are not tied to the media of delivery but only on adding the value to their clients. Because of this awareness they are considered one of the most successful digital-native publishers on the web. The medium to to deliver your product or service should only be taken into consideration when they can be improved, updated or offer a deeper level of impact for your customer or client. What are the methods in your industry that may either be outdated, or could be innovated to provide more value in today’s market?

There I also a flip side. A rising tide will rise all boats. When things are going good, don’t forget to ask yourself, Might this just be an industry trend? The reason is simple, the first obstacle in any business is always our own egos. Don’t make the mistake of thinking all is blue skies and and open seas. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten the call; The business was humming along and all of the sudden, the terrain shifted. They weren’t prepared, the tide receded and they hit the rocks. It is my duty to tell you, it isn’t the rocks fault. If your terrain shifts and you don’t anticipate it, that is your fault. Are there beliefs that you hold about your brand, client or value add that can be holding you back from providing deeper impact?


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