“There will be no newspapers in ten years’ time” – these are the words of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, pointing to internet competition and government overregulation as factors leading to the demise of print media. Indeed, as a generation that relies on technology and the internet, utilising an abundance of digital media platforms be they smartphones or Kindles to access information, is print media gradually becoming redundant?
Johnston Press Plc, one of the top community media organisations in the UK thinks so predicting a significant decrease in its print media audience. Shrinking from 11 million print users down to just 8 million by 2020, Johnston estimates digital media will be king, growing its digital audience from its current level of 10 million to 20 million over the next 8 years.
Going one stage further, Johnston expects that around 75% of people will access its news content via digital products such as smartphones while print readership will drop from 90% to a mere 25% by 2020. It is for this reason that Johnston expects all of its titles to lead with a ‘digital first’ approach with only a few print products lingering in its future.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Gannet, the publisher of USA Today as well as a number of smaller American newspapers displayed disappointing earnings for its old-media holdings seeing a 33% decline in quarterly profits while ad revenue fell 7% in the newspaper division over the past year. While the big players in print media such as the New York Times have experienced a long and fruitful existence, competition from online media such as AOL’s Huffington Post is fierce, stealing away traditional media users by offering easy to access bite size snippets of news information. With this in mind, Gannett reported a 9.4% rise in digital revenue in its most recent quarter further highlighting the growing popularity of the digital media platforms.
Charlotte Ashton, MD of leading property PR agency, AB Property Marketing Ltd, comments,
“While there is no denying the tactile appeal of holding a newspaper in your hand, digital advances have given rise not just to new ways of accessing information but how companies do business. There are now numerous ways we can share news with the world and as a result, information now flows more quickly and freely than ever before. Instead of relying on the morning newspaper we can access a constant stream of material via our PCs, smartphones or tablets anywhere and at any time.”
Indeed, there is no doubt that print publications have felt the burn from the steady decline in readership levels; even high profile newspapers such as The Times have set up online pay systems to view content as a way of ensuring success while a number of UK magazines have ceased their production completely or moved to the online world.
“In today’s digital world of online pr it’s essential that businesses embrace this revolution to stay ahead of the game – we have already seen a number of property print publications move to digital realms with titles such as What House Magazine and Homes Overseas embracing the online world.
“Indeed, there remain a lot of people who want to keep print press alive and well. The sector which has sustained itself for hundreds of years will always have a following however the digital age has given rise to the way information is offered, perceived and experienced – it has a far greater reach so it is important that media agencies look at ways to convert written material into electronic form. Thankfully plenty of forward thinking print publications are already building their digital brands but it will be interesting to see what the print landscape will look like in the near future.”
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