Books…check. CDs…check. eReaders…check. Newspapers…?

Today Amazon’s Jeff Bezos announced his purchase of The Washington Post for US$250 million.

Bezos obviously sees the value of a well-respected masthead as he gradually builds up content options and value for Amazon’s Kindle services.

Strong brand loyalty, simple automated payment processes through Kindle/Amazon, with useful hardware is a nice combination that Bezos obviously feels he’s building here.

His move is also a respite for many journalists as the newspaper industry sees its margins and core values being squeezed in every which way.

It’s the value of the newspaper’s brand that’s got me thinking about which newspaper brands are of real international value.

The Guardian is a personal favourite of mine and there’s the likes of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Sydney Morning Herald. All very much established, well positioned and respected newspapers and brands.

So what have we got in New Zealand that stands up internationally? The NZ Herald and Stuff are the standout news services. And although Stuff is my local digital offering, the New Zealand Herald is a clear winner IMHO.

Stuff’s branding is one dimensional without an actual hard copy and its brand gets too fragmented across its many small regional mastheads. For international audiences I also think they would favour the NZ Herald too for the simple fact it has “New Zealand” in it’s masthead.

“Be the first, be the best, be different” is a long-running quote on successful Internet ventures. Bezos levered this formula with books and CDs…now we wait to see how different he’s going to make newspapers.