Washington Post Strategy Takes Page from Amazon Web Services

Ever since Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post Company in 2013, there has been much speculation on how he intends to put the newspaper on a more self-sustaining economic footing in the face of the existential challenges confronting the entire industry.  WaPo’s recent announcement of its second year of profitability sheds some light on its strategy.  In a move that strongly resembles Amazon’s growth from an ecommerce destination to the largest provider of cloud computing services, it has become a software provider to other publishers through its Arc platform, a suite of content management and monetization tools.  Built initially for its own newsroom, circulation and advertising purposes, the company has successfully licensed it to over 50 other publishers in the US and abroad.  Like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Arc is operated as a separate company and clearly benefits from Amazon’s access to technology expertise, reputation, and scale.  While AWS generated an estimated $14 billion in 2017, Arc’s CEO has predicted that it could eventually reach $100 million.  At rates ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 per month, Arc has a long way to go, but the math could easily work if the company reaches beyond just serving newspapers to other types of publishers.  And at $100 million, Arc would more than cover the losses that might be sustained by running a first-class newspaper.

About Lee Greenhouse

Longtime strategy consultant focused on the business of information content, applications, and services.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.