Q.no.7. The crisis facing mass communication industries in the digital age.
Example: Downfall of print media
Prynick Prym Raman
Word count : 2920
“River of Gold “is what print Industry was described as by the Press Baron Rupert Murdoch, who built his empire solely from the stable incomes and revenue that flowed in from his print media industries. Print media was the foundation for publication of news and information. It formed the basic definition of media, mass communication and journalism. Newspapers spread knowledge far and wide and bring information from far and wide. They encourage citizens in order to play a critical role in nation-building. They intrigue the intellect and offer a cerebral counterpoint to the mindless shenanigans of other media. A democracy thus owes it to itself to ensure that its newspapers are empowered to be free, to be fearless. Newspapers played the most important role of delivering the truth to the people and also establishing a clear communication channel between the common people and governing body; It was named the watch dog of the people and stood strong as the fourth pillar in democratic nations of the developing world. Newspapers and magazines were the first source of information people looked up to. It played a vital role of bringing all the incidents that happens around the world to the hands of common reader in the street shrinking the world in a large scale.
Unfortunately, media is dynamic industry which keeps evolving according to time and the development of technology. Over the years newspapers, though they maintained the standards and the pole position amongst all media, have become a time and resource consuming product. Introduction of television and radio in the 1940s and 1950s and the internet in the 1990s were the two major blows to the traditional print media. In a market economy, the main factor is creating need and demand for something. The need for information is never going to vanish as information is the key to unlocking the answers to many questions. For example, discussions on globalization, climate change or business and finance.in todays digital era there are a ton of new information to be unlocked. With time as an important factor the society has turned towards a faster means of gathering this information.
Newspapers bring out the details and the back stories of the incident but the immediacy of the issue is lost in the process of collecting information, publishing and distributing the material physically, but on the other hand with internet or broadcast the process is more time efficient and updates are brought on throughout the day and can be accessed in a any situation. It is noticed that newspapers and news magazines are getting thinner just as it is also noticed that libraries are no longer used as sources for research but Instead, they have become “book museums” with computer terminals. The transition is happening: from print to digital. The transition would have been much more quicker nut unlike other technological revolutions it has slowed down as humans have the tendency to find it difficult to give up old habits. This factor of time has made the newspaper a secondary source of information that people like to read with their morning coffee just to read the few details that the online or broadcast has missed out apart from the older generation.
Compared to all the “old” media, newspapers have the most to lose from the introduction of internet. In the past few years the web has made the decline pick up the pace . In the book “The Vanishing Newspaper”, Philip Meyer has predicted that by the first quarter of 2043 newsprint dies in America as the last true reader tosses aside the last edition. That sort of extravagant ideas might have stirred up my doubts and debates amongst the journalistic world, but even the most cynical news baron Rupert Murdoch could not dismiss the way that more young people are getting their news from online sources. Youths aged between 15 and 24 are said to spend almost 30% less time reading national newspapers since they started using the web. The newspaper industry has always been a wheel , and the industry has survived previous such ordeals . Televisions’arrival in the 1950s began the decline of newspapers as it became most people’s source of daily news.
Just 20 years ago, no print media professional or reader would have ever imagined that print news would be where it ended up today, but the evolution of the Internet, smartphones, and other mobile smart devices and their growing popularity to become a part of everyday life has drastically changed the way companies do business. It has significantly affected newspaper publishers and not all of it is for the good. Online content has become the source of news for many readers, especially young ones. In the past, consumers would have their morning papers delivered to their home or stop by the newsstand on the way to work. Today, many people get their fix of news staring at a tablet or smart phone. In fact, it is rare these days to see a commuter reading a print newspaper on the train or subway instead of a smart device. New technology invariably brings new ways of doing things that were deemed not possible or even imaginable in the past. For example, while we have wealth of news sources on the Internet to choose from, we have become less dependent on the traditional newspaper as a major source of information about the world. The Internet has dramatically affected the way newspapers are read, run, financed and staffed and it stands on a thin line.
The debut of the Internet in the 1990s increased the spread of media choices available to the average reader while digging a deeper grave for newspapers by removing its dominance as the source of news. Television and the Internet both bring news to the average reader faster and in a more visual style than newspapers, which are constrained by their physical format and their physical manufacturing and distribution. Other Competing mediums also offer advertisers moving images and sound and the Internet search function allows advertisers to understand and cater to the readers needs who have revealed what they are seeking hence giving advantage.
The Internet has taken a step further than television in bringing down the advertising income of newspapers. Unlike broadcast media, online media proves to be a convenient platform for classifieds, particularly in categories such as jobs, vehicles, and real estate. Free services like Craigslist have defeated the classic yellow page and classified advertising departments of newspapers, some of which depended on the classifieds for most of their ad revenue. Research has shown that Craigslist cost the newspaper industry $5.4 billion from 2000-2007, and that changes on the classified side of newspaper business led to an increase in subscription prices as they had to tally the loss occurring in the ad section , and impacted the online strategy of some newspapers. At the same time, newspapers have also lost many ads by large department stores, which once served as a substantial advertising income.
At first, from the late 1990s until around 2002, newspaper companies simply replicated their print editions online. The internet offers so many specific sources of information and entertainment that readers can pick what exactly what they want from different websites and platforms. As a result, people visited newspaper sites less frequently and skimmed through a few pages and then wandered off to some other website. Most newspaper companies in the developed world, 2005 was a very tedious year. Newspapers still earn almost all of their profits from print, which is going downhill. As people look to the internet for news and young people turn away from papers, paid content are falling year after year as free information was available at the touch of a finger. Papers were already losing their share of advertising spending. Classified advertising is quickly shifted to online media and for the past couple of years, newspapers have been thinking more confidently about what to do on the internet. which basically refers to reporting stories using cameras and microphones as well as write up. “A GOOD newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself,” mused Arthur Miller in 1961. A few years later, two investigative journalists from the Washington Post wrote a series of articles that brought down President Nixon along with the Watergate scandal and the status of print media and journalism soared. At their best, newspapers held governments and companies to account and questioned their actions but in the rich world newspapers are now just products in the business of selling words to readers and selling readers to advertisers, what was once the main support for society, is now colapsing.
The increasing use of the Internet search engines, primarily through large engines such as Google, has also changed the habits of readers. Instead of perusing general interest publications, such as newspapers, readers are more likely to seek particular writers, blogs or sources of information through targeted searches which will make the basic need for a newspapers unnecessary. Once the ability to gather and distribute information was restricted to only those with printing presses or broadcast mechanisms, the Internet has enabled thousands of individual commentators to communicate directly with others through blogs or instant message services. Even open journalism projects like Wikipedia have contributed to the reordering of the media landscape, as readers are no longer restricted to depending on print media organizations for information.
There are other challenges, too. The health of newspapers is undermined by the presence of other media, by occasionally intrusive policies of the government that impact the sustainability, by rising costs, especially by the fall in the value of currency in developing countries that directly impacts the cost of production, since a large quantity of newsprint that are consumed are still imported, by advertisement policies. Equally, it must be admitted that the health of newspapers is also affected by the actions of some of the journalistic policies in the organization, especially by a phenomenon such as paid news or paid content that strikes at the very roots of an independent press as readers cannot access certain specific information for free. Unhealthy competition has lead to the desire to consolidate and compare media power, driving the competitors to present a plurality of views. Newspaper circulation is on the fall and so are classified ad revenue and the industry has experienced an unprecedented wave of layoffs in recent years. Major metropolitan papers in the USA like the Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer have gone under, and even bigger newspaper companies like the Tribune Company have been in bankruptcy.
Aging is a process that goes hand in hand with time. Print media has tried to keep up but have stop believing in their survival. Considering print media as an industry under crisis of not being able to catch up to time and on the verge of becoming obsolete a possible solution can be derived in order to buy the field a little more time to figure out a permanent solution. . Those who claim that the future of news is online and only online ignore one critical point: Online ad revenue alone just isn’t enough to support most news companies. So online news sites will need an yet to be discovered business model to survive. Years after the digital giants started predicting the demise of print, newspapers still make a significant revenue from print advertising
In the new fragmented newspaper market, traditional media publishers must make a few decisions in order to continue growing and operating effectively. Essentially, there are three strategic options:
1. Be a consolidator of their competition
2. Be a seller
3. Remain independent These three options all require publishers to develop a strategy that focuses on: — Achieving greater scale
— Top-line growth
— Revenue stability
— A digital only or limited print model
— Capturing, writing, and monetizing their real asset
—the reader base, and the way those readers interact with and use their content. The Internet Search function also can be used to know what kind of news the people want and publish it accordingly which will keep the readers still looking up to newspapers for something. Choosing which path will depend on each publisher’s unique situation.
Like all other businesses, newspapers have to watch their financial bottom lines. When incomes decline, expenses have to be cut down in order to maintain balance. This means an industry-wide redaction in newspaper staff through layoffs or forced retirements. One possibility may be paywalls, which many newspapers and news websites are increasingly using to generate much-needed revenue. A Pew Research Center study found that paywalls have been adopted at 450 of the country’s 1,380 dailies and they seem to be effective. That study also found that the success of paywalls combined with a print subscription and single-copy price increases has led to a stabilization of income and expenditure or, in some cases, even an increase in revenues from circulation. In this case papers don’t have to rely as much as they once did on advertising revenue. Until someone figures out how to make online news sites profitable, newspapers still have a chance.
The greatest advantage over the public especially for newspaper publishers is to show their long-standing name in providing high-quality and credible information. Given the recent events of apparently creating “fake” news, newspapers’ reputation for delivering credible and accurate information can be particularly attractive to major marketers, who want to be seen to be operating in “clean and well-lit” environments. The fake news situation can also elevate the importance of curation and old-style journalistic fact-checking in the digital world: it’s no coincidence that the New York Times saw its subscriptions boom following the US election in November 2016. Online media is quite open and has become more of user generated content which intern questions the credibility of not just the information but also the source. Combining all these trends shows that the primary drivers of competition for the two segments revolving around each other are news quality and immediacy in the case of newspapers, and personal interests, hobbies and leisure in the case of consumer magazines. At all times , the focus of any media will be on engaging the target audience segments in the most compelling way possible, via whatever format and channel and platform those consumers prefer in their interests at the time. Clearly, people are still interested in news and relevant information, so the threshold question is how to attract new viewership, or at least prevent further erosion of existing viewership.
This movement must also be continued on online platforms if not wholly at least partly. Newspapers are moving away from being “just” newspapers and from being overly dependent on desktop-focused digital display advertising platforms to being actual source of information. For example, one of Germany’s largest newspaper portfolios is currently undertaking a major digital transformation, in which it is building multiple pure-play classified digital businesses – i.e. companies focused on a particular product or activity in areas like real estate, jobs and autos that sit outside its newspaper portfolio and are not of any value editorially. It’s also involved in creating a link with marketing businesses that benefit from the growth of ecommerce, especially as it goes mobile. The same digital publishing house is partnering with multinational company based in South Korea to create a new news brand, underlining the growing role of mobile and the strategic importance to content providers of finding creative digital distribution methods to the major social media platforms.
The road has been tough for newspapers over the past 10 years and the next 10 years may be even tougher. The decline may have leveled out for now, but is expected to continue going downhill again. The harsh reality is that print ad revenue and methods of circulation cannot be regained but can be modified. Most say that print will exist in the future but the capacity of printed copies being a primary revenue xource for newspapers is coming into question. Newspapers will have to create and establish a fresh approach to the way they operate. Future media businesses may be different by a mile from today’s models, and except for a very few that offer premium content, most newspaper industries will need to go to a digital-only model for their survival. The increasing splits in the newspaper sector will open up opportunities that will provide these companies to explore these new business models that may lead to new growth in profits and value. It will be a rather difficult change for a proud industry that has traditionally revered newsprint and ink, but it may be the only way to survive, as consumers increasingly want their news and entertainment in digital form.
The death of a Print media is to be upon us soon but it is only on a physical level, just no paper or print or ink, but more evolved in time and change its platform to a more economical and environmental friendly form and as long as there are people to read and write, it will continue to thrive in the current world and in future. The transformation must be done gradually as there is still a generation of newspaper and magazine readers, but an initial step towards the transformation can be taken to maintain a smooth flow from one form to the other.