5 Jan 2010

The Newspaper is dead! Long Live the Newspaper!

We've talked previously about the (unwinnable?) paywall battle about to be fought between major news corporations and Google as newspapers struggle to address circulation decline and the loss of advertising revenue through other charging models but here's another possible solution to the problem.

Coming from Berlin, long a hotbed of innovation, comes Niiu, who have partnered with (so far) 17 German and International newspapers (including both the New York Times and Washington Post) to provide tailored content in a 24 page newspaper individualised to your own taste. Customers can choose which page or section from the selected titles they would like included along with RSS feed from hundreds of online sources. If this seems too much like hard work, you can also choose from pre-defined profiles. Order before 2pm and your individualised publication is delivered to your door next morning for only 1.8 euros.

Cofounder Wanja Oberhof told Time : "It's an individualized paper which has a wide appeal because people, especially students who grew up with the Web, want to get their news from different sources." Apparently, despite the diversity of media they're familiar with their target readers still prefer print. He told The Editor's Weblog: "We asked this target group which is the most comfortable and which is the best distribution channel; is it an e-paper, is it only on mobile, is it printed or online? The feedback was that for now, paper is still the best distribution channel."

This isn't the first Web-to-Print initiative we've seen but it's interesting to see the apparent enthusiastic backing from traditional newspaper publishers who might have seen this as competition. One to watch.