Print Media Decline;
Why Papers Need to Adapt to The Internet
Walk the streets of any University and you will see the piles of uncollected newspapers scattered throughout the halls. The same applies to the newsagent where magazines are left on the shelves month after month. And let's not forget the annual discarded Yellow and White Pages.
The online shift has created a significant impact on both the bottom line and the future of traditional or old media. People no longer turn to the hard copy when they can easily and efficiently view it online. Newspaper circulation figures are down, and it is not just this industry that is running scared. Magazine subscription and radio advertising has also decreased, leaving those with the traditional mindset behind.
With online advertising on track to reach $2.2 billion by year's end, it's time traditional media entities embraced the Internet before they are old news.
No News Circulation
Australian newspaper circulation figures are out for the quarter and not even the industry leaders can do much with the spin. For online enthusiasts this would come as no surprise; the results demonstrating a three percent decline of Monday to Saturday purchases for all titles combined.
The Age in Melbourne now has only 650,000 readers of the weekday edition, down 5.3% compared to the same period last year. It's not just the daily readers that have dropped; subscriptions are also spiralling downwards and there are mountains of unread newspapers dumped on University campuses across the country.
Newspapers rely on the audience to read and scan their pitch. If they don't, they don't get the money. And if they don't get the money, they're in serious trouble.
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Globally, newspaper and magazine readership has been in serious decline for a number of years, and as circulation shrinks, so too has print's share of the advertising dollar. Worldwide, newspapers take up about 24 percent of the advertising budgets, but in the US it is marginally less with only 18 percent. Australia is slowly in decline with print advertising spend still a third of the pot.
The magazine industry has also felt the crunch; taking a dive in advertising spend and circulation. The sales of 15 weekly magazines have slid by 7.7 per cent, making it one of the industry's worst quarters, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations data.
As online media becomes more competitive, newspapers and magazines are starting to lose their advertising revenues; forced to adapt to the Internet to survive.
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The Online Shift
With destruction from the online opposition, the downhill spiral has prompted both News Limited and Fairfax to move towards delivery on mobile devices and specific online paywalls, according to Crikey. This is a matter of necessity, not choice, with a recent 24/7 Wall St/Harris poll showing that 50% of respondents now get almost all of their news online. What we were getting in print, we are now increasingly getting for free online; reducing the need to purchase the print editions.
With a shrinking print-reading market and a continuous increase in online marketing, print media is forced to adapt to new mediums. Papers like the Melbourne Herald Sun and Sydney Daily Telegraph are among some of the news outlets set to implement paid online news in the coming year.
Australian media mogul, Rupert Murdoch has been warning his readers for years that he is planning on ending free online news, by charging a subscription rate. Readers remain reluctant to pay for online news and do not appear to value it as much as they value print editions. This is reflected in their unwillingness to sign up and pay for online content, although it is continuously updated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The times.co.uk is one main news site that has requested their readers to subscribe to receive news. However, the times.co.uk is currently alone, with all other major newspapers offering online news for free.
Online boasts 16 percent of the current advertising spend but is continually rising; set to meet the 25 percent share it has in Britain. It only took the Internet 4 years to reach 50 million users and with search engines now the primary source for news and business information, it would be foolish for traditional media not to embrace the expanding medium.