Tuesday 6 August 2013

Amazon buys the Washington Post, Waitrose buys the Good Food Guide, same difference for NAMs?

In another sign of the unprecedented challenges newspapers face as advertising revenue and readership decline, Amazon yesterday paid $250m for the 135-year-old Washington Post, breakers of the Watergate scandal… .

In addition to the newspaper, Bezos gets other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.

However, the Washington Post represents only a fraction of the company which has expanded into a stable of holdings, including education and health care services and most recently an industrial supplier. The collection of companies that make up the Washington Post is akin to that of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, which owns disparate businesses from railroads to underwear as well as a stake in the Post.

Obviously Amazon will bring innovation, a global database and leading-edge online/digital expertise to the mix, but especially consumer-focus, pace and 1-click convenience. 
Above all they will strive to replace all elements that appear to be the cause of newspaper demise, hopefully leaving untouched the core of what the Washington Post is to its readers.

In the process, Amazon, with little experience of newspapers, may happen on a long-term solution to the sector’s problems…

A pointer for traditional media, or the final threat…? 

Meanwhile, Waitose purchase of the Good Food Guide from the Which? consumer advice group, includes the website as well as the 63-year-old magazine.

In contrast with the Amazon deal, here the traffic is more two-way, in that Waitrose gains access to the receiving end of a food service culture, via an army of volunteers who inspect and rate restaurants anonymously, along with enhanced credibility with diner-consumers…

Waitrose also publishes a weekly lifestyle and recipes guide, along with a monthly magazine which will give some scale economies and efficiencies via the new purchase, apart from website synergies.

From a NAM point-of-view, both retailers have just added new dimensions to their relationships with consumers, giving them more insight into making ‘paid-for’ media work, and hopefully more appreciation and understanding of the real value of Return on Trade Investment.

It only remains for NAMs to be able to handle the resulting conversation…

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