TV first led to the decline of the printed newspaper and then the digital age in terms of the web has led not only to the on-going decline of the printed newspaper but also, ironically, to the decline of people watching the TV for news.
10 years ago 13 million people read a printed newspaper in the UK. This has now declined to 7 million. The writing is on the wall (sic) for the printed newspaper and even those papers that have made the move online have made a poor fist of it.
In order to try and attract an initial audience many online versions of newspapers have offered content free thus ensuring that it was unlikely that many would decide to pay for the privilege on a subscription basis.
Printed advertising revenues are declining especially for the local press and it is unlikely that many of them will survive over the next few years. Likewise with the National press.
So, who reads newspapers? In 1999 the crucial market of 18 to 24 year olds 42% of them read a newspaper. In 2015 this had gone down to a miniscule 16%!
Even the over 65’s who in 1999 had 72% reading newspapers –had declined to 50% by 2015.
Studies carried out in the US showed that in 2016 62% got their news (some or all) from a mix of social media sites. By mid 2017 this had gone up to 67%. A 5% increase in less than a year!
Personally, the rubbish that passes itself off as news on social media that people tend to believe without question is one of the main reasons why I left Facebook. I do have an online subscription to the I newspaper – which does have some political bias (left centred) but I can ignore that and read between the lines. The point is that most reasonable newspapers can provide a reasonable assessment and analysis of the news both local and worldwide.
The decline in newspaper sales though might be terminal. The most popular online newspaper is the The Mail Online. This currently attracts some £44 million in advertising revenue but needs about twice that to break even.
So what’s the future for newspapers online or otherwise? Unless people get fed up with the prevalence of fake news and decide to buy a real newspaper the forecast is pretty much doom and gloom.
Newspapers have failed for the most part to persuade readers (especially the young ones) to move to a subscription based online format and this means that the likely result is that even the online remains of newspapers will shed staff until a very small number of (pseudo) journalists remain. They will then probably trawl TV and social media to obtain content…
It says a lot about future generations that they seem content to let this happen.
The ability to suspect what we used to call a falsehood or common sense seems a distant dream and whilst I doubt the ability of Putin and his lot to control fake news and its effects – the visible lack of intelligence and acuity displayed on social media means that we might all self combust in the not too distant future.
Headlined – The World Blows UP!
The future will probably be Youtube Vloggers who give you their own personalised version of the truth…