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Are Newspapers dying??

Posted by: Malhar Barai On July 31, 2012 12:00 AM facebook linked in twitter

“Change is the only constant in the world” – told by Heraclitus in 535-475 BC still holds true for us. And who better to know this than the newspaper industry.

Since the digital disruption in publishing world, the newspaper industry is going through a major churn.  While for most of us, the mornings are still incomplete without reading the newspaper (not the digital version), a ubiquitous bunch of people have started questioning the viability of the newspaper industry. The industry did see a continuous decline by over 10% YoY in the paid subscriptions in between 2006 - 2010. Combined with increased production and transportation costs, the statements were quite on the point. So, is the industry really dying??

While, the industry is bracing itself against the onslaught of multiple digital platforms – static content, web, mobile web and lastly the ebook readers too and given the slew of digital formats, time was running out for newspaper companies. Though people in and out of the industry have been writing against them for a long time now, what we have seen though is that the industry has evolved and embraced changes like no other industry. Most of the customers we meet today have either already embraced the principle of ‘digital first’ or are planning to adopt it as fast as possible.

What were the major changes though??

Online version – According to comScore, while the overall readership of print version is down 11%, the online viewership has increased by 5%. Essentially, most of the newspapers today have an online presence where they serve up-to the minute news, but the major change they did was to provide a digitized version of the day’s newspaper. So if a customer has missed the paper version today or if they have not subscribed to the paper version, they can still access the same newspaper in a digital format and can download, print the news or even complete their daily crossword or Sudoku challenges. Coupled with more geographical reach and multiple subscriber engagement channels, the newspapers haven’t lost customers but have in fact increased it now.

Ad revenues – We always knew that the major share of revenues for any newspaper comes from ads. By digitizing the ads, they were able to offer multiple options to the sponsors since on a digital platform the same ad space can be offered to multiple sponsors. By doing this, they were able to create multiple revenue models thereby enhancing the profits.

No wonder Forbes wrote in January that the Online Ad Revenues to Pass Print in 2012 -

And according to eMarketer, the US total media ad spending will grow an estimated 6.7% to $169.48 billion in 2012
Hence, we believe, the newspaper industry is not dying; instead it has re-invented and is riding the digital wave creating new business opportunities.

With Over a decade’s experience in the IT industry, Malhar Barai has made his presence felt in various areas such as Delivery, Alliances and Pre Sales. He is currently a part of the IBG TME Solutions team and provides sales support for the Technology, Media & Entertainment prospects of Tech Mahindra. Passionate about writing, Malhar has authored a book on 'SOA with Java' and has been nominated for Author Award by Packt Publishers in 2010.

Tags: DAVID, In The Future
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