Posts Tagged Apple

Publishing Industry in Transition

4415_269_250_crop_56435There’s this great word – disintermediation – that you should get to know. Wikipedia says, “In economics disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: cutting out the middleman.”

In publishing, the traditional printed newspaper delivered to your door is being disintermediated by online sources that deliver better information online faster – almost immediately, in fact. Over the next decade you will see an increasing number of bankruptcies among print media outlets, and the continued rise of online media and blogs. The Tribune Company / Los Angeles Times bankruptcy is just the most recent example.

And you’ll see citizen funded reporting grow. I’m an advisor to Spot.Us, a community where people choose and fund stories they want written. Then those stories are made available so anyone can publish them.

Apple’s iTunes service has became the largest online seller of music disintermediating retail music mega stores like Tower Records, Sam Goody’s and others. If we can buy music online, delivered digitally for less money, do we need the brick and mortar retail outlets and all the related waste products (plastic, plastic and more plastic) that is wrapped around physical CDs?

The Post Office and shippers are being increasingly disintermediated by email and electronic communications. DHL is halting express deliveries in the US. They lost about $10 billion in the US trying to challenge Federal Express and UPS. So they’re packing it in.

Mobile DJ’s can spin popular party music from an iPod less expensively than hiring physical performing musicians, disintermediating opportunities for musicians who make a living playing music live.

And the Amazon Kindle, a wireless reading device that lets me download and read books and similar devices that will follow, will (over time) disintermediate the brick and mortar book store business. If we can download content faster and less expensively than buying a physical books, the bottom will fall out of the traditional publishing business, impacting store owners, shippers, and building owners who rent space for stores.

What other areas are being disintermediated by technology?

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