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Dying Printed Media - Who Cares?

Thanks to the advances in Technology, we see people using the Web for all kinds of reasons, primarily for getting entertained and informed. This obviously affects magazines and newspapers that depend on circulation numbers to survive. Recently it has been reported that many newspapers and magazines find it difficult to sustain their profits as the expenses to maintain their publication are relatively high. It is rather difficult to sustain existing personnel and continue paying bills when circulation numbers fall. So what are they doing about it?

Basically, the leading magazines and newspapers have made their moves long ago; it is only logical to follow technological advances and be there first. Making the move to the Web is unavoidable: people are looking for the digital equivalent of their favorite printed media in larger numbers. You have to be there to survive, otherwise you will lose your readers, it is that simple. Nowadays people go to the web and pickup newspaper Web sites as their favorite page for their browser; they load RSS feeds with the latest news on their blackberry and other mobile phones. They get the news instantly, as it happens. For free. In the most ecological friendly manner. No waste of paper, no delay for the next days or weeks issue.

Is this worrying for printed media? For those that have not joined the ride yet it is. They must change their business and launch their electronic identical quickly, otherwise it will be over soon. Will they make money? It is a calculated science; with less to spend on ink and paper, and the low costs of maintaining their electronic equivalent, plus all those online advertising platforms that exist, it should be a struggle but there is opportunity.

What about the end consumer? People still use both printed and electronic media, but as technology gets perfected, they will be migrating from the former to the latter in increasingly larger numbers. The market responds slowly with some test devices like book readers (Amazon and Sony have made advances there), but there is still no such device to allow a friendly reading of an electronic newspaper or magazine in all public places. When this brick falls into place and such technology becomes widespread, their will be little reason to buy paper issues as a consumer, and practically no reason to stay in conventional printing methods as a publisher.

Kostandinos Papahatzis is responsible for reviewing magazines and newspapers; my latest work was on Economist Magazine. I also have a related website for reviews for those who wish to purchase an Economist subscription. www.economistmagazine-reviews.info/

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