Online and offline classifieds – Disconnect in traditional media

I have been thinking about this for sometime: All of us know, classifieds is big business. Both online and offline. In the offline world traditional media like newspapers are the big gorillas – they basically built the classifieds industry. In the online world we of have craigslist, networks such as google adwords, vertical classifieds such as magicbricks, trulia etc. Though newspapers have gone online and online classifieds are proving to be successful businesses, I feel that there a distinct disconnect between the offline and online worlds. Why aren’t newspapers (or any other traditional media) integrating their offline classifieds with their websites? Online classifieds of all newspapers (thehindu, timesofindia, local papers like deccan chronicle, eenaadu) suck big time – they have minimal/obsolete content, search/usability features are non-existent. What could be the reason for this?

I feel newspapers have everything going for them 1. They have a captive customer set (who give them offline classifieds). So content (and revenues) is not an issue. Pricing could be different for online. 2. They have a decent online reader base. So integrating the online and offline worlds should be the most obvious thing to do. But this definitely is not happening. Even newspapers in US (NY Times etc) dont seem have integrated their online and offline worlds. Only google (who buys a lot of print ad slots) seems to be bridging this.

I would like to understand the reasons for this disconnect. Are they purely cultural – sticking to the existing cash cow and under estimating the online effect? Or is it more than that?
Are there any traditional media which have successfully embraced the online classifieds model – can anyone point some examples? It would be great if someone can throw some numbers – typical revenues made through offline classifieds. How much can online classifieds effect the overall revenues for the business etc.

I feel there is a business opportunity here – enabling traditional media to broaden their pie. If you want to collaborate on this pls comment or directly contact me.

regards,
Vamsi

Article reposted from here

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5 Responses to Online and offline classifieds – Disconnect in traditional media

  1. Anurag Rastogi says:

    Harking on the point Mahesh has made, revenue and cost structures of offline and online are quite different, It is much easier for an online company to adopt to offline mode as compared the opposite, which is the reason why most offline companies are not able to take proper advantage of the online medium. The best approach for offline companies is to float a separate company under the parent umbrella brand but which will have a different brand proposition to offline company. Most importantly the new company needs to be treated like a start up instead of a subsidiary of offline company.

  2. Sree says:

    Today online classified has became one of the major media, many site has come Country, State, Regional wise, which its help to find more local information and online communication.
    http://www.high5classifieds.com is one of the best example

  3. bolcitybol says:

    We are a new and exciting player on Indian online classifieds platform, BolCityBol. With unique features like well classifieds regions, google map listings, college vyapaar section etc BolCityBol has generated a lot of interest and is very easy to use and absolutely free. So for all your needs in cities of Mumbai and Pune Try it today.
    http://www.bolcitybol.com

  4. BG Mahesh says:

    The entire thinking process of online and offline classifieds is different. You will need dedicated professionals for the online part who get the data from offline arm of the company. But most newspapers think it is just a matter of pasting all their classifieds on the net without giving importance to user experience.

    Newspapers compare the current offline and online revenues and they feel online revenues are too small for them to pay any attention to.

    regards,
    Mahesh
    http://www.mahesh.com

  5. kalyaan says:

    its all about change. as you said they have different culture. so there is more possibility of an on-line property taking on the off line biggies. india property.com is coming up with magazine for NRI segment. they just launched their magazine last month. which will be a good start. another point is very few cash cows stay as cash cows for long.

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