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Newspaper group wants to make money selling e-readers and mobile platforms

Danish regional newspaper company Fynske Medier unveiled plans to invest another two million pounds (20m DK) in developing technology such as e-readers and mobile platforms this week.

The media group has already had some success selling online systems, and I'm assuming we're talking about content management systems here, to other smaller online publications, and wants to develope this side of its business further, according to (quoting financial daily Börsen). The newspaper group even has international ambitions, though the story had me wondering if this market isn't already rather saturated? And how well is a smallish newspaper group like this positioned to compete in it?

Update 22.03.2010 09:14 CET: Not that I think it's a bad thing that media companies look for ways to diversify their business and create new sources of revenue, but this story came hot on the heels on a Guardian blog post on New York Times (NYT) and CNN trying to keep up with tech companies - with the executive editor of the former saying that NYT is as much of a tech company as a journalism company now.

Obviously, mobile techonology, smart phones, as well as the need to find new ways of making money online, has made it an imperative for media companies to either invest more in developing new products and solutions, or partner with someone who can do it for them. My point is only that a) media groups dabbling in tech development like this is not new, and the Guardian story had me wondering how much of this is just re-branding or spin; b) most of the bigger media players are rushing to grab a part of the mobile market these days and investing in in-house development; c) how well are most media companies, hampered by institutional inertia and constraints really suited to take on more agile tech start-ups?   

There's a lot of buzz around e-readers, mobile platforms, apps and architecture these days, and some of it is really, really exciting. Of course media companies have to be where their readers are, ideally also foresee where media habits are moving, but this new bonanza in the mobile market reminds me a bit about the heady start of the Danish freesheet war, of the days when all media companies had to have their own freesheet. That, of course, was great fun to cover as a journalist, it was a very colourful drama from beginning to end, but it didn't end very well for the media companies involved.


I read the vast majority of the book I read off my Palm TX. I also use it to run a database or two, manage contacts and things a good smart phone would do if I weren't too cheap to buy one.

I would not buy something like a Kindle or another dedicated book/newspaper/magazine reader. It's just another expensive thing to carry around, worry about breaking, and possibly lose.

Wait, if they were incredibly inexpensive, I might.

In any case, I may be in the minority here. I always see one or two Kindles (or that Sony(?) thing) when I'm flying.

Maybe I'm not hip enough to own one. I prefer to think that I just don't see the need for a dedicated reading device.

Well yes, I think what's happening in the mobile market with smart phones is really very exciting. I realise that it might not come across clearly in this post, which is largely due to this whole line about media companies becoming tech companies sounding like spin to my ears (haven't media companies been tech companies for a long time already?) and a wee bit of scepticism towards this idea of earning money on selling tech solutions to other media companies. But I may be too much of a pessimist on the latter point and I'm certainly not a pessimist about smartphones and all the development opportunities in that market. Just wrote a massive feature on that which I may revisit on this blog soon if time allows;-)

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