Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s Approach to Media
Amazon Corporation and Jeff Bezos are probably best known for their love of books. They are also known to be lovers of space travel. And their latest acquisition, the Washington Post, is perhaps their greatest success yet, if one thinks about all the great things the Post has done for the public. The purchase was obviously a strategic move on their part to bolster their already impressive media empire.
In fact, as CEO and chairman of Amazon, Jeff Bezos made reference to the purchase of the Post by saying, “This acquisition is part of our ongoing effort to diversify our business in media and books,” according to a statement released on the Amazon Web site. It seems that with his bio at the Post, Jeff Bezo already has an excellent scientific background and understands the impact the news from Washington will have on the world. He knows how to get people’s attention, especially the readers of the prestigious Harvard Medical School News publication, and he knows how to create an atmosphere that makes a story exciting. And if someone can make headlines, you can sure to create an environment where readers will eagerly wait for more of what you have to say.
A smart idea, for sure, but it does raise a question as to whether or not the Washington Post is really a “paper” anymore? Is it a legitimate news source or is it simply a commercial enterprise whose main goal is to increase their share of the market through sensationalism? Many people feel that a business like Amazon, which is not primarily a manufacturing company but rather a technology giant, must have its own version of a newspaper because their business depends on the free flow of information from the news media. If Amazon is going to buy the newspaper, then isn’t that like buying the Washington Post and starting your own version of the nightly newscast on CNN? It just makes no sense.
Some people are concerned that if Amazon buys the newspaper it might put pressure on news media organizations to become more aggressive and less editorial in their reporting. After all, Amazon has said that they do not want articles that focus on them or the products they sell. So where is the conflict for the media? Actually not quite.
In fact, it actually makes a lot more sense like this. If you own a business that sells products like books, music, DVDs, etc., you probably already have relationships with journalists or news outlets that you can call on when you have a story. If you own your own business like Amazon, you don’t necessarily have to worry about relations with the press because the relationship is with your customers. You do, however, have to be careful about “staying” in the news or being too “busty” or “press” for too long. As the business model goes,” staying in the news” is good for business but” staying in the business” is good for customer satisfaction.
Jeff Bezos also told investors during a speech at the Inside Bankruptcy Conference that if the company does not buy more newspapers it would be doing more harm than good. People love to read newspapers; in fact most people get their news online first. If Amazon can buy just a few magazines, it will not seem to affect the online readership so much. But if everyone buys newspapers and magazines then there will be less of a need for Amazon to buy more and it will cost them more money in the long run to do that.