In conversations before and after a speech Zell delivered Thursday night at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, Calif., the billionaire said newspapers could not economically sustain the practice of allowing their articles, photos and other content to be used free by other Internet news aggregators.
"If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?" Zell said during the question period after his speech. "Not very."Wow. I wonder if he knows the demographics of the newspapers he just bought very well? Has he asked any of his under 30 (hell, under 40) grandkids if they subscribe to a newspaper? Just one? I doubt it.
Now would be a very good time to start putting together a web based locally focused online media startup for each of these 16 cities where the Tribune is, apparently, going to turn off (or try to start charging somebody) for the online component of their newspapers.
It's too bad he's not thinking of newspapers for what they are: The best source of LOCAL content available in a community (regardless of where the community gets is- paper or online) vs. a ground up tree with ink smeared on it.
Companies have been experimenting with local online communities that were supposed to replace newspapers, radio and TV for years. I think the window to start really focusing on it may have just opened up.