Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, took over as the next owner of the flailing Washington Post. The business venture was a personal deal not related to Amazon operations and Bezos will continue his executive role with Amazon. Pundits are optimistic the Amazon founder will have a positive effect in transforming the paper into a formidable power house comparable to his founding Amazon empire.
“Building audience, personalizing the offering and certainly monetization are the core competencies that Jeff Bezos and Amazon have developed,” said Alan Mutter, a newspaper consultant. “The more you interact with an individual on her smartphone, the more you are able to gauge an individual’s response, the more you learn about that individual, the better you can be about providing both content and advertising to that individual.”
Amazon is famously known for its e-commerce transactions. Bezos developed extensive tools in founding and building the Amazon brand. In applying similar software development, marketing outreach, data gathering and e-commerce availabilities, he seeks to resuscitate declining sales. Bezos’ patient investment philosophy may be a reviving force needed to turn the business around.
“The success of Amazon has been hugely disruptive to multiple industries, from books to retail to streaming video, and Bezos has been at the helm of that,” said Clark Fredricksen, a vice president at eMarketer. “Bezos knows a thing or two about selling things online; this is a definite potential new outlet for the Post and the industry.” Washington Post could be on its way to becoming the next Amazon for Jeff P. Bezos in the newspaper industry.
The Post had established itself in the international arena and was well renowned during the Watergate-era in newspaper circles. Bezos would do well in building it more as a nationally recognized organization for news reporting and other business related endeavors. Bezos, a billionaire, doesn’t have an interest in the day to day operations of the paper. Critics contend that Bezos quite possibly wants control of the paper for bragging rights. However, many wait with bated breath on how his ownership will impact the industry.
“If you look at the amount of money we are making in e-commerce, I would say it’s been something that we haven’t really done very well, and it’s not really in the history of what we’ve generally done,” said Jim Brady, the former executive editor of washingtonpost.com and current editor-in-chief of Digital First Media. “Mixing commerce and journalism is always fraught with its own perils on the ethics side, so we probably didn’t do as much as we could have.”
Papers such as the New York Times, News Corp. and Tribune Co.’s Los Angeles Times all have e-commerce arms. Jeff P. Bezos will bring a renewed energy back to the Washington Post and with an established plan make it the next Amazon of the newspaper industry. The organization was bought out for approximately $250 million. Interviews were not granted by Jeff Bezos concerning the details of the deal but he had granted an interview with the Washington Post itself.
By Thomas Barr