Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How media convergence changed the news and the print industry: The death of the newspaper?

When it comes to media convergence, one of the most prominent and noticeable changes to a specific sector of the media industry would be what convergence has done to the print/ news industry.

Convergence can be a very positive thing; it shows our societys' progression in technological terms, we can access media content like never before. It has created many jobs within new industries (examples include app developing and game creation: they couldn't have existed without convergence) but convergence has also unfortunately led to the slow death of a revolutionary industry that began generations ago: The print industry.
Newspapers being printed
Due to the demand for easier access to content on the go, the print industry has slowly become dated and people have lost interest in the classic newspaper, leading to millions of pounds in sales losses simpy because no one buys newspapers anymore. 
This is due to the rapid development of the internet, television news companies thought it an excellent idea in todays internet-savvy society to expand their horizons and put news content online, by doing this giving them the ability to update the news whenever a new news developement occurs.

BBC News
This factor is one reason the print industry cannot compete with the development in the technologies convergence has created; how can information which has been printed irreversibly and unchangeably compete against information which can change in real-time with the developing news events and be updated at will?
It simply can't. 

Furthermore, this irreversible and unchangeable printed information comes at a price for the consumer, granted, not an unreasonable price but still a price, whereas the majority of this real-time and developing-as-it-happens information comes for free to the consumer. 
Which one is the consumer more likely to choose? It almost goes without saying, the free option, the option that offers more in terms of keeping them up to date on what is happening now and can change in real time.

However, some may argue that it is more convienient to buy a lightweight compact newspaper than have to lug a laptop round with them or always be in the vicinity of a computer to check on the news, but once again convergence has created an easy way for consumers to check on the news easily and within the palm of ones hand. This is because of the introduction of the smartphone and app.

BBC News app for iPhone
Convergence has duped the print industry again, news is now even more convienient because it can be read anywhere, yes like a newspaper, but unlike a newspaper can be read on a small screen. Gone are the days when we see people sat on public transport with their faces hidden from view because of a newspaper, look around when you're sat on a bus and you will be guaranteed to see at least one person on their smartphone checking the news headlines through 3G mobile internet via a smartphone. 

We'll be seeing less of this . . .
. . . and a lot more of this.

But what can the print industry do to compete against mobile news and apps? 
Frankly, not a lot. 
There is still a market out there for the old newspaper, as some older generations can't get to grips with modern day technology and will still purchase a printed paper daily, but eventually this audience will die out. 
Instead, the companies who own these newspapers must contemplate whether or not to go online, and how can they generate revenue online.
An example of a newspaper printer who has made the decision to go online would be The Sun newspaper, this can be found here: The Sun Website

Other existing news websites do struggle to make revenue online, but selling small space on their websites to advertisers has generated a decent profit margin for some. 

The Times and Sunday Times however, as of June 2010 started charging consumers to use their news website, giving them a choice of what kind of news package they want - including just online access to the site or with a smartphone app included.  So the Sunday times and Times made up for losses in the print industry with a quality news site that must be paid for by the consumer in order for them to gain access.

So although it will be a shame for society to eventually have to say goodbye to the beloved newspaper, along with a lot of print industry jobs, companies can make the choice to expand their horizons online and move their news outlet to the web to keep up with the times, literally.


Posted by Louise

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