BUSINESS

Bezos' influence on the Post, according to tech experts

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- The marriage of tech billionaire Jeff Bezos and literary landmark The Washington Post may appear to be a mismatch – until you start thinking like an entrepreneur.

Peter Corbett is CEO of iStrategyLabs, a high-tech solution service based here in Washington, D.C.

"I don't think that Bezos is going to shut down the print piece, but it could be dramatically scaled back,” Corbett says. “Adding additional huge distribution in digital immediately is certainly possible and likely the course of action."

At high-tech business incubator 1776, founder Evan Burfield initially thought the sale was a joke – then quickly realized it all makes sense for Bezos’ business model, which at Amazon spans well beyond online retail.

“They have a major publishing business,” says Burfield. “They've taken out a lot of traditional publishing houses and I think he understands the value of brand and content, but in much richer and diverse ways of monetizing it than maybe the Post had traditionally looked at it.”

The idea that the Post will expand its digital content under Bezos is a given. However, the question remains of whether or not the paper itself can still turn a profit. Tech reporter Rob Pegoraro has worked at the Post for 17 years, and says:

“When you look at what's amiss at the Post and newspapers in general, it's not so much the story telling [or the] the journalism -- it's how do you get people to stick around. You want people who will linger and read the next story... and the one after that...”

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