Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is Print Media Dying a Slow Death?

There is a fundamental shift in communication and consequently in media as our daily mode of talking, writing and speaking has become increasingly dependent on computers. The fact that you are reading this on a computer endorses this change. The same is happening for businesses and enterprises as the news they get from the main stream media and newspapers is moving towards the online world.

The first act of a day for an analyst in an organization like ours is checking email, and opening up a browser. On this browser page, whether it be Yahoo, Google, or another, the news is one of the first things that they read. And slowly, we find our own ways to keep abreast of all the local developments through the Web – be it bookmarking our favorite news sites and subscribing to RSS feeds or alerts and customizing our preferences.

There is a silent but steady shift of viewership from traditional media to online media, blogs, RSS feeds, Newspaper and Television Websites. But still there is significant need of traditional media for certain industry verticals.

News headlines across the Web and print media flashed several announcements from leading news agencies and newspapers including USA Today, Associated Press, Gannett, Los Angeles Times, Star-Ledger, The Washington Post, and even The Wall Street Journal, about newsroom job cuts ranging from 10-20 percent of workforce. The job cuts reflect the huge losses incurred by the print business of these agencies which implies that traditional media is facing stiff competition from online/new media and losing some ground.

Contrary to above, there is interesting development in another communication realm where companies are increasingly investing intellectual capital in developing brand relationships and business-to-business marketing efforts – the Web 2.0 phenomenon. Blogosphere is suddenly turning out to be the most solicited place for corporate brand building. However, this will be a gradual transition, as people and companies have different learning curves for the social media.

Having said all that, I still have a strong feeling that people are tactile creatures, and they like to touch the newspaper and turn the pages, flip them over and eat and sleep on it. The sense of accomplishment that you feel once you have read the entire newspaper is unfathomable. For me, reading a newspaper is a different experience on its own and I have my own reasons for NOT staying away from it. My newspaper has never crashed. I can carry my newspaper or my favorite clipping anywhere while traveling, I do not need a WiFi connectivity or laptop. I don’t have to go through registration/signing in/customizing my newspaper. My newspaper is not made up of toxic un-recyclable material. And my newspaper provides correction updates with explanations, and it is not sneakily applied to the original story after I have read it. These characteristics of a newspaper would certainly reinforce my loyalty towards print media forever.

By Debanjan

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