The Washington Post Extends Bezos's Ecosystem and Empire
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Seconds after the deal went down, the comedians came out of the woodwork on Twitter. After the first "People who bought The Washington Post also bought The New York Times ..." joke, the comedy devolved into the same tired cynicism that, for some inexplicable reason, still trails Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com (AMZN).
Instead of lauding Bezos's move on The Washington Post Company's (WPO) crown jewel and, more importantly, the Graham family's decision to sell The Washington Post newspaper to a tech visionary, the insecure and inferior took shots. Cheap laughs are one thing, but the inability to give one of the world's premier innovators -- the greatest living CEO -- the credit he deserves reeks of immaturity.
Henry Blodget said it best:
Gotta love Jeff Bezos— Henry Blodget (@hblodget) August 5, 2013But what separates Blodget from the tortured pool of cynics is that he gets it. Bezos knows this, as evidenced by his decision to invest $5 million in Business Insider, the Website Blodget co-founded and runs. Don't believe for a second that Bezos's purchase of WAPO has nothing to do with his Business Insider investment or with Amazon.com. Consider Turner Broadcasting's (a division of Time Warner's (TWX)) acquisition of Bleacher Report. The startup now powers CNN's sports coverage. Don't be surprised if Business Insider supplies content to WAPO -- and vice versa -- in due time. It makes sense. The potential practical connections between Amazon and WAPO don't move me. While I don't think we'll see many -- or any -- something like all Kindle users receive a free WAPO subscription would hardly come as a surprise. What's more interesting, however, are the deeper, more theoretical implications that could lead to material associations. This is the man who conceived and led the transformation of media consumption from hardcopy to digital. A transition that's, relatively speaking, still in its early stages. As a media executive who knows Bezos told The Wall Street Journal, "(Bezos) still sees a role for journalism, and it's an extension of his interest in books and writers. It also gives him a pulpit in Washington." Bezos, according to the WSJ's source, can now vision new ways for old and new journalism to intersect. He can step in, as he did with retail, and take a vulnerable institution -- old school journalism -- and reinvent it. And, just as brick and mortar retailers have, other newspapers will feebly follow. As the dust awkwardly settles, Bezos will buy more newspapers and other media outlets, creating the type of all-encompassing media powerhouse Warren Buffett a) will envy and b) couldn't possibly create in the first place. This move represents Bezos's next frontier. Steve Jobs disrupted the music industry, smartphones and computing. It's only fitting that Bezos puts his second act (and third if you count space travel) into motion in an industry that rides alongside, but not shotgun with, what propelled Amazon to dominance. There will come a time when potential synergies between Amazon and Bezos's media empire will appear so obvious today's cynics will criticize him for not exploiting them sooner. We're talking ecosystem here. Bezos's trademark "long-term opportunity." These things don't come together overnight. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
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