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The Future of Print Media

Print media are going through hard times. Will they survive the recession?

How do you start your day? Do you get the morning paper and while drinking your coffee you read the news? For many people this is the way they start their day and they won’t change their daily routine, even if the world went to an end.

But what will you do, if the newspaper you are used to closes? With so many local and national newspapers closing in the last couple of years, the question is certainly not pointless. Many of the newspapers that closed were newspapers with traditions and this is what makes the situation harder.

Will Print Media Survive the Recession?

One of the reasons for the death of so many print media is the recession. When the economy is in a desperate state, advertisers shy away from massive ad campaigns, which means less money for print advertising as well.

Since for many newspapers advertising is the main source of income, it is obvious that when the flow of ad cash stops, this threatens the very existence of print media. A portion of newspapers’ income comes from circulation and from subscription in particular but now these sources are going dry, too.

Still, let’s hope that in a year or two, when the recession is over, print media won’t have become history. Yes, the number of newspapers and magazines might be drastically reduced but they are not going to become an extinct species. In a sense, it will be the survival of the fittest.

Did Online Publishing Kill Print Media?

In addition to the recession, another common reason for the inglorious fate of print media is online publishing. Online publishing is a competitor for print media but did online editions kill their paper brethren? The answer is both yes and no.

Yesterday’s news is old news. Online media has the advantages of radio/TV (you learn the news soon after it happened) and print media (i.e. you see it on a piece of paper). Additionally, online publishing allows dialog with the audience (via comments and discussion forums), which is not the case with print media.

When you add price to the above mentioned advantages – i.e. most online newspapers/magazines are (still) free – it becomes clear why online publishing kicked printed media in the corner. It is these advantages of online publishing that made print media so last century. When you add the recession to this, there is no need to explain why many magazines and newspapers have sunk.

It is sad but life is like that. If print media (or what is left out of it) don’t adapt themselves to the new realities, then the question about the future of print media is useless. Instead, we’ll be speaking about print media in the past tense only because they would have become history.

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