The Internet is a hugely disruptive force in many different industries. Movies, music, and print media like magazines are just a few places where businesses have collapsed under the onslaught of new digital companies. Streaming music and movies to digital devices was unheard of not too long ago. The newspaper publishing industry is another area that is being heavily disrupted in the Digital Age.
Despite whatever state-of-the-art high technologies may emerge, certain fundamentals will always remain the same as always. Father Time has taught a well-taken lesson that people are creatures of habit. Thus, well-formed, long-held habits are hard broken by human beings.
As such, three universal habits have guaranteed immunity from ultimate extinction. This trio of truly immortal mortal habits consists of reading, writing and arithmetic. Of those members, reading is the most essential, being the sole means by which the other two have any possibility of effective assimilation and practical application.
Below is an overview of the exciting chances for positive change and the unique challenges that digital inventions present for print newspapers.
Primary factors that might cause newspaper extinction
Even a cursory browsing of high-profile sources that portend a very near end for print newspapers reveals two recurrent negative themes.
Print newspapers are way to slow
The theory is that high-tech electronic text platforms have constructively eliminated traditional print news media.
The underlying rationale is that exponentially greater rapidity of digital news distribution via online and mobile venues renders ink-based headlines outdated before next-day arrival on subscribers’ front doorsteps. However, this theory has a fatal flaw that resides in the failure to consider man’s basic habitual nature. As tangible documents, printed newspapers fit quite snugly into daily routines. Besides access uniformity that never changes, conventional newspapers entertain by featuring tons of fun and games like crossword puzzles and fill-in-the-blank brainteasers. Such fringe benefits can be akin to daily rituals that offer comfort and solace during rare moments of solitude. Thus, newspaper deliveries are well worth a one-day wait for readers who look forward to final arrival.
Greater diversity, quantity and delivery speed of digital news
Still another issue with the above theory is that it doesn’t account for time or cost efficiency factors. The Internet’s vast mass broadcast capability is in fact a double-edged blade. Despite infinite variety, quantity and transmission speed of data, the virtual world simply can’t complete with the time and cost efficient customizable reports that print newspapers deliver every day of each week.
Finding the desired news reports online typically entails typing numerous terms into search engine query fields that consume tons of time with no guarantee of success. By stark contrast, print newspaper contents are neatly divided into clearly identifiable sections that are frequently color-coded. Classified ads, sports, current events, human interest stories, legal notices and other such themes are quite familiar and quickly found.
Besides these benefits, physical newspapers are readily available and easily portable for very low cost. This means readers of modest means without residential broadband WI-FI hookups never have to miss a chance to read the latest news. Likewise, more mature readers whose old-school ways are firmly set in can enjoy leisurely relaxation at the morning breakfast table propped behind a newspaper. Another item in favor of printed news text is that it is far easier on human eyes than harsh laptop LED screens.
How contemporary print newspapers can survive and thrive in the Digital Age
As true for virtually all modern commercial enterprises, the key to survive Digital Age market disruptions is diversification of news dissemination. Although print news media probably won’t ever become completely extinct, today’s journalists must adjust to digitized mass broadcast formats. One highly recommended solution is creative subscription restructuring that can create multiple revenue sources by selling news reports on a chronological, topical or customized basis.