As print publications are facing declining circulation and readerships, there have been shifts towards online publishing as a attempt to gain back readers and advertisers who have moved to online media.
The internet has without a doubt changed the way we gain information. As we are becoming more and more time constrained, we tend to use the internet to look for news, updates and even jobs or ads. It has given us a much easier and faster ways to locate information than using offline mediums such as newspapers and magazines.
Of course this means that publishing companies, who once upon a time earned millions and millions of dollars, are dropping like flies. The industry declined by 16.2% during 2009-2010 as they continue to lose readers.
Fairfax Media which publishes The Australian Financial Review, The Age and The Sun-Herald have embraced the trend and launched online newspapers in Brisbane and Perth with no intentions of producing print products for them. They have also launched an iPad app for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age which allows readers to flip through pages as if reading a traditional newspaper with the ability to zoom in and out and have the stories read out to them.
Popular men’s magazine Ralph, also closed printing publication 3 months ago to publish solely online.
So it looks as though the era of print publishing is really coming to its end.
Why do I say that? Have a look at some of the factors that are already leading to this trend– and why we’d benefit from it.
Internet is already taking over our leisure time and it is more up to date and attractive
Reading a newspaper or a magazine is considered a leisure activity – but the internet is taking over our leisure time. Many of us are online at least once a day (like right now) – bidding on eBay, checking your Facebook or reading the news, so it has already been identified as a preferable way to reach target audiences.
Online materials also have the ability to provide more updated information and prominent visuals. Many newspaper and magazine companies now embrace websites to allow ‘real time’ articles, not to mention full colour stories, galleries and videos which we all enjoy.
Online is a cheaper option
Goes without saying. Publishing companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and without the need for Ink and paper there would be massive savings.
The growing importance of environmental issues has seen publishing companies increasing their sustainability practices – especially in terms of cutting paper usage. Cutting print publications may actually see us in a paperless future where we won’t have to deal with piles of old newspapers.
Advertising agency preferring online
Advertising makes up 75% of newspaper and magazine revenue, and with all the cheap, available online tools that can be used, it’s not uncommon for companies to switch their advertising over to the internet. And being such a huge chunk of their revenue stream – print companies will subsequently follow.
Development of wireless technology – blackberry, iPhone, iPad
The advancements of technology have allowed many to embrace the mobility of wireless internet. Furthermore, products such as Kindle, e-reader and iPad allow consumers to read online print more easily and conveniently and with the same readability as print – no more getting black ink on your hands!
Need to increase younger generation of readers
As the younger generation matures with age, they will still be as tech savvy as they are now. With the convergence of print and online technology, we may actually see 15 year olds reading the newspaper!
What are some issues?
Of course, before we begin to see this move there are still some issues that need to be addressed.
- Issues in broadband – slow streaming and downloads and quality
Higher bandwidth is necessary to meet rich data and multimedia traffic, and with the slow broadband facilities in some countries – aka Australia – it may be a problem. That is unless Gillard keeps her promise.
Issues about health risks relating to technology
There are still heath issues revolving around the use of screen based activities, such as poor eye vision, epilepsy and back pains, which has some people decreasing their time spent in front of technological devices and screens.
Loss of the jobs in printing and ink
There will be significant job losses from those in the printing and distribution labouring, as well as ink manufacturers and newsagencies – I can see possible union protests coming into play.
Justification of charging for online materials
If companies do start publishing online, they won’t do it without a cost. But will people be willing to pay for news contents that, for almost a decade, they have been receiving for free? An effective online revenue model has to be established. In saying that, people already pay for mobile phone contents and online download, so maybe they will be accustomed to paying for it online.
What are your thoughts? Do you think print will continue to live on?
Andersan, C, 2009, ‘Is Print Dead? Print publications are folding at an alarming rate’, Suite 101.com, 23 November
Tachamkertenian, H, 2010, ‘Industry’s pace of growth accelerating,’ PIAA, i-grafix.com Australian Printer Magazine, 4 March
The Age iPad editions on the way, 2010, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May
Jackson, S, 2010, ACP turns Ralph into online-only men’s magazine as readership droops, The Australian, 4 June