Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Little Games Could Save the Big Newspapers

A lot has been said about the death of newspapers and the established print media. Although most traditional news and magazine companies have developed a relatively vibrant Internet presence, this additional channel hasn't generated enough revenue to make up for the loss of the paper-product readership. A viable Internet-based business model doesn't exist yet.

I believe that The New York Times finally stumbled upon a potential new revenue source today. The Times rolled out a simple game to demonstrate how easily drivers can be distracted by fiddling with a mobile phone while driving. Although the game is only a bonus meant to augment a serious article, I found myself spending more time "playing" than reading.

Newspaper websites and casual mini-games could be a match made in heaven. Newspapers have the content to drive repeat website visitors. Companies like HeyZap have the little games that can provide occasional relaxation and fun. The gaming companies are also able to tap into large networks of developers that can create custom games that are tailored to particular articles or themes.

Revenue models are pretty simple - either embedded advertisements or virtual-goods marketplaces generate small incremental payments that have the potential to significantly add up. Since a growing percentage of adults were raised while playing video games, gaming is no longer associated with purely childish acts and can now seriously co-exist alongside most articles.
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