In a 2007 post about the future of the newspaper industry, I suggested that we look at the photographic film industry. At the time, Kodak was in the midst of reinventing itself; film sales were way down, so Kodak said it was in the "picture" business...and moved on to making printers and cameras. Of course, Kodak had no expertise in making cameras or printers, those products were simply related to pictures, which was related to film. Kodak claimed that it would be able to survive, but I wasn't buying it. Here's how I put it in 2007.
Kodak is done. It's business model was geared to offer a product that no longer exists. The company tried to convert its work force to provide a new type of product but the structures were inherently diferent. There is no such thing as a film expert anymore, and a film expert doesn't become a digital camera expert simply because both products involve pictures.
Well Kodak's experiment with cameras fell apart pretty quickly, and now it looks like newest business model isn't viable either. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kodak is collapsing rapidly.
With its shares closing at their lowest level since the 1950s and investors bailing out of its bonds, Eastman Kodak Co. is under the heaviest pressure yet to prove it can pull off a plan to reinvent itself as a company that makes printers.
The newspaper industry is 5 to 10 years behind the film industry, but the path is the same. People still consume information, they just don't buy newspapers. The newspaper industry will continue to cut costs and try to create other products, but in the end it will go the way of Kodak.