In Marc Andreessen’s world the Christian Science Monitor wouldn’t be the only traditional print product going online-only.
In this interview in the latest edition of Portfolio, Andreessen, who is co-founder of Ning, Netscape and investor in Digg and Twitter, says the New York Times should cut its print losses and focus on ‘the market of the future’.
If you were running the New York Times, what would you do?
[Andreessen] Shut off the print edition right now. You’ve got to play offence. You’ve got to do what Intel did in ’85 when it was getting killed by the Japanese in memory chips, which was its dominant business. And it famously killed the business – shut it off and focused on its much smaller business, microprocessors, because that was going to be the market of the future. And the minute Intel got out of playing defence and into playing offence, its future was secure. The newspaper companies have to do exactly the same thing.
The financial markets have discounted forward to the terminal conclusion for newspapers, which is basically bankruptcy. So at this point, if you’re one of these major newspapers and you shut off the printing press, your stock price would probably go up, despite the fact that you would lose 90 per cent of your revenue. Then you play offence. And guess what? You’re an internet company.