Thursday, December 24, 2009

Newspapers, an epic fail

At the beginning of 2009 I mentioned an animation called EPIC, that put forward a view of the future in 2015 where Google and the New York Times went head-to-head in an (errrr... Epic) battle.
Note: I actually found out subsequently via Wikipedia that the movie was made by the Museum of Media History and was originally produced in 2004 and subsequently updated in 2005.

We have witnessed a crumbling newspaper business model, once based upon near-monopolistic retail and classified adverts. And those 'golden days' just aren't likely to make a comeback (ever). Well in 2009 this animation took another step towards becoming realised.

Advertising revenues along with readership numbers have dropped further and so have the profits & staff of those papers along with them. The only difference worth pointing out is that the battle this year wasn't taken up by the New York Times - as suggested in EPIC, but by News Corp (owners of the Wall Street Journal).

And now even some of those papers that state their readership is rising aren't selling more newspapers. Apparently since April 1 2009 there have been new auditing rules in the USA that have made it easier for newspapers to count a reader as a paying customer... by counting both their print and digital subscriptions to the same person as two readers! (The Huffington Post explains further here)

But the decentralising of information from newspapers and their mainstream media owners, to millions of the general populace with the ability to publish for free, is just the tip of the iceberg.

What were are really hinting at here is the decentralising of power... and for some that is an opportunity (those prepared to understand and embrace digital democratisation) whilst to others it is a threat (old media owners and those who used the media to control and restrict thought & opinion).
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