Tag Archives: Advertising

Future of News is Past of News

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[This is an expanded version of the article Reclaiming the printing press and was first published 3 Dec 2012 here]

Imagine a theme park. Imagine this theme park is the most popular theme park in the world. More popular than Disney World, more popular than Sea World, more popular than all US theme parks combined. Now imagine that it costs about $400 for an annual pass to enter this park. Yet there are no rides in this park. Sounds ridiculous right? But this isn’t an imaginary theme park. This park exists. In fact, you go there almost every day. 

Several weeks ago Newsweek announced it is to stop printing magazines. After 80 years, one of the giants of US news is going web only. It will no doubt be tempting for others to follow; off-loading manufacturing costs, abandoning a declining print readership, addressing steepening competition on the web. Newsweek’s bold move may well herald the long-forecast demise of the print industry.

But it is not just the physical paper that is disappearing. It is the media’s control over content distribution. Gutenberg’s printing press allowed publishers not only to realise their ideas in print, but also to share those ideas as they saw fit. That power is slowly being eroded. Newsweek’s decision underlines the fundamental shift in newspaper and magazine publishing in the age of Web 2.0; a relinquishing of the mode of production.

Continue reading Future of News is Past of News

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Greatest threat to print journalism?

Answer: The Internet.

This is a theme that has popped up a million different times over the last number of years, “the death of print media” etc etc. According to the Irish Times Editor, Geraldine Kennedy:

the internet has posed a “huge threat” to the traditional structure and financing of the newspaper industry.”

While the internet is clearly drawing advertising and readers away from traditional print publications, there is no definitive evidence that the traditional media will die anytime soon. What we do know though is that the traditional media, in Ireland at any rate, is at this very minute under threat from a far more traditional source:

“THE IRISH Times Ltd made an after-tax loss of €27.9 million in 2009 as a result of costs related to a restructuring of the business and the effect of the recession on advertising revenues.”

“Circulation revenues fell marginally during the year but advertising income was 42.5 per cent lower due to the effects of the economic slowdown, particularly in property and recruitment.”

Maeve Donovan who “spearheaded the controversial “investment and diversification” strategy“, i.e. the purchase of MyHome.ie (which appeared to be a means of cutting out the middleman in the property advertising paradigm), also received “an ex-gratia payment of €1.1 million.”

Property advertising, as we all know, is declining predominantly because of an excess of 300,000 houses and the creation of a bad bank, guaranteed by the government and therefore the Irish public, with a balance sheet of empty and unfinished commercial property, which in turn prompted a series of deflationary government budget strategies, precipitating the IMF and ECB putting in place a means of exhorting billions of Euro from the Irish public to repay British, French and German banks for the coming generations.

So not only did the media’s symbiotic relationship with the property industry discredit journalism, and in turn alienate readers, but its over reliance on property advertising compromised the financial structure of instituion itself.

The traditional media doesn’t need a threat from the internet, it is well able to destroy itself.