Thomson Reuters President of Media Chris Ahearn said that the appearance of new tablet computers and mobile devices is a reason to find out a new ways for providing news. "We live in a publishing world that's so dramatically different. The old business model is dead, it's kaput. We have to move faster, we have to move more boldly," Ahearn said.
Reuters is developing "something for you to distribute your content," he said, which will be built around news organisations' preferences. It will encourage more original reporting rather than regurgitating, he said, and will allow organisations to save money and resources.
Ahearn was speaking at the 17th World Editors Forum in Hamburg.
During his presentation he emphasized the most important characteristics of the "app world". They are loyalty, convenience, access and discovery. User engagement is 5 to 10 times higher on apps than on the web, Ahearn noticed, but the industry still has to have more subscribers than it has today.
He paid attention to the diverse needs of the audience that must be served. "I fundamentally don't believe that people are paying for content, they pay for experience and they pay for something which has unique value for them," Ahearn told the audience. The answer how to serve interests of the public and, for example, financial professionals, is not always to produce more content. It's likely to be services, he said. "We have to embrace tech advances to help create compelling offerings." He noted that The Financial Times has segmented its business to deliver news to different communities with different resources and presented it as a good example of an efficient business model. "Make the features more personal to give readers the reason to believe," Chris Ahearn advised his colleagues in the media.
Speaking about iPad, Ahearn pointed out that the significance of the appearance such a kind of a tablet is a little bit exaggerated. "I have it, I love it, but fundamentally it is not about devices. Whether it's iPad or smartphone we have to embrace what's new," he mentioned.
He expressed concern about the necessity to cede control over customer data to Apple. "I think that's a slippery slope for everyone to go down," he said.
Nevertheless he stated that new platforms will coexist with the newspapers: "Now doesn't mean the death of the old. I believe that the best days are ahead of us and we are entering a new golden age of journalism," Ahearn concluded.