Tag Archives: disintermediation

The death of the News Of The World

What an incredible few days. The PCC’s statement yesterday was extraordinary – even if it turns out to be merely a cosmetic exercise. Today’s announcement that the News of the World will end as a brand is, as its mooted replacement would say, a “stunner”.

It took almost exactly 3 days – 72 hours – to kill off a 168-year-old brand. Yes, there were other allegations and two years in the lead up to The Guardian’s revelation that Milly Dowler was targeted by the newspaper. But Milly Dowler and the various other ordinary people who happened to be caught up in newsworthy events (kidnappings, victims of terrorist attacks, families of dead soldiers), were what turned the whole affair.

That story was published at 16.29 on Monday. Incredible.

We talk a lot about the disintermediation of the press – the fact that companies, governments and celebrities can communicate directly with the public. The targeting of the News Of The World’s advertisers, and the rapid mobilisation of thousands of signatures supporting an inquiry, demonstrated that that disintermediation works the other way too. Where once the media could have acted as a dampener on how public protest appeared to advertisers and Parliament, their powers to do so now are more limited. [UPDATE: Paul Mason puts this particularly well here]

So while The Sun may be moving to 7-day production, that doesn’t make this a rebranding or a relaunch. As of Monday, The News of the World brand is dead, 168 years of journalistic history (not to mention 200 jobs) offered up as a sacrifice.

Whether that sacrifice is accepted, and to what extent, is yet to be seen. In the meantime, the significance of this shouldn’t be underestimated.

This post originally appeared on the blog Facebook page

Music magazine launches ‘Beard Aid’ business model

Independent free music magazine Bearded is launching a curious initiative to try to fund the magazine through reader donations. ‘BeardAid‘ asks readers to “give £2 a month in exchange for exclusive music content, free magazines, discounts and free entry to Bearded gigs as well as a host of freebies.”

So, a music club then? Well, only if you’ve got your Old Media hat on. Because the magazine is explicitly inviting readers to be part of their project, rather than simply paying money. I’ve spoken before about ‘punk capitalism‘ and this seems to me to be another example. Not only that, but it’s another symptom of the disintermediation of the media industry – more on that later. Continue reading