Pearson wants out of The Economist. That is the news the struck hard in the media and business world this weekend, as the pace of the word continued to pick up. We aren’t talking about something that is a simple, open and close issue, though. For Pearson, the problems with this unloading are not nearly as significant, as they are for The Economist. Pearson has said that it wants to focus on its education business. This much was obvious when they gave up their stake in The Financial Times, as well.
Like I said, this says a lot less about Pearson than it does about The Economist. The digital media market is flooded, and interestingly, The Economist is a great example of what trend is happening as we speak. There is a transition happening across the board, where smaller publications, like this one, are becoming bigger players in the market for readers. That is interesting because it’s something that has happened slowly over the course of the last several years. However, it is a trend that has been happening for vigorously over – we’ll say – the last year or two.
Another major player in this discussion are blogs, which benefit from traffic with ads and clicks, just like major publications do. The flipside is that these smaller publications have less overhead than the major entities do, and while there is obviously a massive amount of money flowing in and out of these larger digital entities – the smaller ones are at an advantage to periodically thrive.
As the smaller publications, blogs, and streams perform better – they gain dedicated readers, mostly due to the fact that they have the ability to focus on one particular subject of news. This is how a lot of people consume their news now. They want to hear it directly from the dedicated source, rather than getting all of their news from an entity like CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News. There are practically a million reasons why people love digital entities that are small and specialized, like The Economist once was, but as time goes on – and the entity grows – it has to reinvision itself.
Some publications do it better than others, and some never even experience that issue because of the changes that they make along the way. The move though for Pearson to break away from The Economist doesn’t say as much about themselves, as it does about the bigger picture, and how people consume the news. Taking social media into account, and evaluating how important the traffic that comes from social entities, too, and how little it takes to “go viral” all contribute to this process, as well.