Finding your iPhone… And a news story

Who does not know the Find My iPhone function? Better yet, who has not used it before7e2d040d9?

That little moment of panic when you feel your pockets or look into your purse and it’s gone. Most of us find it within an hour, because we simply misplaced it. But for the less fortunate amongst us, the iPhone may really be stolen. Luckily, we nowadays make use of the Cloud, in which we store all our pictures, notes, reminders, video’s… Basically, our lives. When your iPh
one disappears, it is hard to believe that it is actually “stolen” and will be used again by someone else, who will, like you did
, use this iPhone. Naturally, your content on the iPhone will be erased, and the content will slowly but surely reflect the
life of someone else. This happened to Maura, who lost her iPhone in the Hamptons and, after purchasing a new one, realised that pictures of her old phone appeared on her Cloud, giving her a glimpse in
o the lives of Yemen family members. This news story was all over the Internet. Looking at the pictures, you can imagine why..


In class, we have learned a lot about the impact of new technologies, how these technologies can transform industries, disrupt businesses and change consumers’ needs. Throughout the past years, news industries were forced to change their information strategies by, first of all, making the big switch from offline to online news, slowly moving to more devices and platforms, delivering news which is personal and personalised. However,
no news story, regardless of its perspective, platform, or device, can compare to the stories told by people who are living the news… Like the Yemen family through Maura’s iPhone.

This story also shows the vulnerability of the news industry. As the news industry relies on information sources and is, through new technologies and platforms, very easy to distribute,  it can be considered an economy of scale (Shapiro & Varian, 1998). While the distribution costs are consistently close to zero, the production costs depend on variables such as distance, emotional appeal, accessibility etc. Up until now, news corporations have taken on the responsibility of creating news items, however, the increasing importance of emotional appeal and true nature of stories, shift this role from news creators to the people “living” the news. After all, they are much better at explaining, communicating the feelings they are going through, capturing their stories in pictures, providing background information on the topic, and so on. Using the literature by Granados et al (2008), one could argue that, due to these emerging characteristics, the news market is turning (once again) into a newly vulnerable market. It is easy to enter, attractive to attack and difficult to enter (Granados et al, 2008). Nonetheless, the big difference with the traditional form of competition is the underlying purpose of publishing such news information: While news corporations want to make money, locals want to tell their story – for free. The fact that technology is slowly but surely disrupting developing countries, too, means that individuals can cheaply distribute their news stories worldwide  and that everyone can gain access to information without being dependent on news corporations.

I do realize that this approach may be far fetched, but the example does illustrate threats to the news market which are in line with the literature we discussed in class.

Do you think news corporations will be redundant in a few years? How should they change their production, distribution and pricing strategy to compete with individuals that do not want to earn money of sharing their information? What is the role of news corporations in the future? How do you think the developing countries will react to the disruptive technologies in terms of information provision?




Granados, N., Kauffman, R.J., and King, B. 2008. How Has Electronic Travel Distribution Been Transformed? A Test of the Theory of Newly-Vulnerable Markets. Journal of Management Information Systems 25(2) 73-96.

Shapiro, C., and Varian, H. 1998. Pricing Information. In Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.


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