According to CNN, the Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan revealed the paper’s digital side surpassed one million digital-only subscribers earlier this year. This puts the paper in third place behind the Wall Street Journal (1.27 million paid digital subscribers) and the New York Times (2.3 million).
The article credits “overwhelming interest in the Trump presidency” for driving strong subscriptions overall. But I do wonder, in the Washington Post’s case, how much of that might also derive from a push from Post-owner Jeff Bezos‘s other main business venture.
I noticed lately, when I got my new Fire HD 8 and factory-reset my old Fire 7, that the new operating system implementation came with a Washington Post application prominently placed on the Fire’s home screen, as well as placement for the Post at the top of the launcher’s “Newsstand” panel. The app touts twice-daily updates, and special offers for Amazon subscribers.
The Fire—especially the $50 7″ version—is one of Amazon’s top-selling devices, and quite possibly the top-selling tablet in the world right now due to its low price coupled with a recognizable brand name. Of course, not everyone who has the app included on their tablet is necessarily going to subscribe to it (I know I’m not planning on it!) but it does at least put it within easy reach and keep it in those peoples’ minds. And no other news source has quite that level of ready access to that many potential new readers all at once.
And I imagine Amazon also pushes the Washington Post through prime placement on the Amazon website and in other ventures as well. It’s funny that the CNN article doesn’t even bring this up as a possible contributing factor. And who knows; maybe in the overall scheme of things it’s only a minor element. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to consider how Amazon’s influence might also be helping to extend the Washington Post’s. In a time when many newspapers are struggling to find new readership and sources of revenue, that might just be one of the things it’s going to take to survive.
Glad you put a question mark after that “thanks Amazon,” although it’d be far better to make that “curse you, Amazon.”
Only a few days before he left office, President Eisenhower made an address to the nation in which he warned of the dangers of a “military-industrial complex.” He wanted to add “congressional” to that, because he felt that the country faced a read danger that the military (eager for hardware), industries (wanting lucrative contracts) and congressmen (protecting jobs in their district or state) would drive the country to spend far more on armaments that it needed. Some would say that has proved true.
But that problem shrinks to insignificance in comparison to the rapidly developing corporate-media complex. The Amazon/Bezos-Washington Post connection is only one of many. A Mexican billionaire is shoring up the NY Times. The MS of MSNBC is Microsoft. Indeed, we may be reaching the point where Fox/WSJ/Murdock is the only mainstream source of news that doesn’t have corporate/billionaire subsidies, meaning the only news source that’s solely news and entertainment entity. And I’m not even sure if that’s true of Fox.
And given that so many of our financially failing major news outlets are falling onto this corporate/billionaire dole, we face still another problem. None of them will want to expose the connection of others lest their own connections be exposed.
The chief failing of Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex was wasted tax money. The chief failing of this new danger is likely to be far larger —corrupt, tax-subsidized crony capitalism on a massive scale with Amazon using its political clout to avoid federal action for monopoly abuse, Microsoft using its to keep down smaller competitors, Google using theirs to evade taxes, and Wall Street using theirs to get the news media heavily endorse friendly-to-them politicians such as the Clintons.
The result won’t be a country marching in lockstep. It’ll be an America divided between those who depend on this dreadful corporate-media complex with its heavily slanted news and those who have alternatives, some good and some bad.