New York Times CEO Mark Thompson recently made a statement saying “Print journalism has maybe another 10 years”. Reports also reveal that in the US, legacy newspapers today are keeping their head above the water, thanks to the 51% revenue generated from digital subscriptions, outnumbering their print subscriptions. If these numbers are anything to go by, print media is well on its way to obsoletion.
The wave of ‘New Media’ has easily replaced the traditional ‘black and white’ journalistic practices. But it is this tradition nature of print media that makes it so cost-effective. However, it falls short of revenue as more readers drift towards other forms of media. Although, there’s a certain charm with print media, the evolution of technology and the everyday hustle leave little to no room for a quick glance at the dailies. This is where the mobile applications come in. When was the last time you picked up a newspaper in the morning?
On the topic of mobile applications, even leading dailies and legacy newspapers have ‘succumbed’ to digitization. Times of India’s and other leading newspapers’ app, websites, and e-newspapers are probably the best examples of this. However, this print-digital mix lets the audience choose whatever medium they are comfortable with. Old-schoolers will pick up the newspaper and enjoy it with a cuppa, professionals on the go will stream the app, website, or e-newspaper.
Regional and vernacular language newspapers are at the other end of the spectrum. Digital media is not accessible to people living in rural areas, which leaves more scope for these newspapers to thrive. This could probably also mean that regional and vernacular newspapers have a better safety net than the bigwigs.
However, some still argue that print media is here to stay. In Reputation Today, Raghavendra Rao believes “First India” has taken to digital media in a big way, and consumes their news on apps and digital sites across a range of devices and platforms. However, “second India” still consumes media in a traditional manner, predominantly through printed press. Reading newspapers and a strong protective culture for free press dates back more than 160 years to when India was under British colonial rule.
Digital media does offer the luxury of up-to-second news, and you can now know what’s happening across the globe, almost every single minute, rather than wait to read about it the next day – which will probably make it unsurprising to see a total wipe-out of the print media. Yet, the question still remains – is it time to say goodbye to print media? The answer lies with the brands themselves. Websites and apps of older, legacy newspapers will keep themselves afloat, but the fate of the smaller, more local ones remain uncertain.