What’s black and white and read…well, very rarely these days? Oh wait, that’s not a joke. It’s a scary and stark reality for a massive, historic, global industry.
This week, Adweek contributor Jeff Mascott covered the demise of the worldwide newspaper trade predicted by Ross Dawson, an Australian citizen who calls himself a “futurist” and rated the onset of newspaper irrelevance by considering such factors as demographics, consumer patterns and use of the Internet. According to Dawson, the United States will be the first nation whose newspaper industry will topple—as early as 2017. Others will swiftly follow up through 2040 in a progression he calls “painful.”
Naturally, the No. 1 cause is competition from the dominating Internet—including websites, blogs and other content outlets like Twitter. Not only is it a ubiquitous source of information that can be accessed nearly anywhere on the go, it’s also an immediate resource that can stay up-to-date at the drop of a hat. Furthermore, content is perennial online. Sure, new articles come and go—but online stories can be archived and thus survive forever in terms of searches and bookmarks.
In response, more and more newspapers and magazine are competitively shifting over to the World Wide Web. But just as newspapers in print don’t stand up to online counterparts, even major print news outlet websites aren’t competing with those that have been founded and known for existing in the digital sphere. For example, as Mascott points out, Web entity The Huffington Post sees higher traffic than any other news outlet than The New York Times.
But maybe it isn’t exactly as equal a swap out as cassettes for CDs, which left little room for argument when it came time to upgrade. Perhaps the news consumer for each venue is just too different; for example, those who still pick up a paper are traditionalists. They find favor with the appeal of the ritual, like sitting down to a cup of coffee and leaving those familiar tawny mug rings amidst the typeset ink. And it may take loyalists a long time to utterly change gears to the extent of eradicating newspaper sales at large. Maybe it will be much more like vinyl; after all, you can still buy a record in the age of MP3s.
Check back next week for The Future of Newspaper Advertising: Part 2, in which we discuss how the changing newspaper industry affects your marketing strategies.