Similar to the previous segment on books, newspapers and magazines have been affected by the internet and tablet computing much the same way. The main difference is that books are long form written works and newspaper/magazines are short form. Now because of the nature of short form written works, with the ability to have extremely fast turnaround times on presenting new content, we have seen a drastic increase in creators of the exact same newspaper/magazine style of content popping up all over the internet. It’s easy to make. So, not only does the newspaper/magazine industry have to deal with their print/subscription side of the business failing because of tablets they also have to deal with the competition of millions of people posting “their” content. Most blogs people write are usually something that would be normally found within the pages and columns of newspapers and magazines.
Obviously the quality of content and the information provided will be a factor in what people choose to read, but these days most people don’t want to read or hear about what they don’t already agree with, whether it’s poorly written or not. People want to read stories and information coming from places and others who share their same belief system, interests and taste. It’s the reason I don’t read religious publications, not because they’re not well written, but because it’s not information I care to consume or give a damn about. There is this new ability of having niches within niches which allow us to read new content about things we’re interested in 24/7 and only those things until the end of time, simply because of the increase in the amount of content being created around those interests.
The additional effects technology and the internet have had on these publications include a large loss in advertising revenue. As advertisers become more internet savvy they start to have greater expectations than what most printed advertising can offer. Advertising revenues are moving from these mediums to advertising on the Internet. The Internet allows advertisers to track the success of their campaigns and get feedback like never before, with instant results, that allows them to change their campaigns on the fly. You simply can’t do that with traditional advertising. This isn’t to say that newspapers/magazines aren’t changing with the times and coming up with new ways to keep open there publications. Subscription based iOS and Android Apps is just one example of what is already happening. Some publications are dying out and new ones are starting, those who embrace technology are ultimately the ones who will stand the test of time.
*Additional notes from my Editor Crystal Barry: A big part of the news industry dying out because of the Internet has to do with the fact that we’re connected to information now all the time. By the time a newspaper comes out it’s already printing old news. By moving onto the Internet they will be able to keep more up to date with information and events as they happen. Print media isn’t fast enough to keep up. Books are different though because they’re a different type of media that is being targeted to an entirely different section of people. A lot of readers who will read magazines still don’t read books, and vice versa. Books are also a condensed media, they focus on a specific story or topic, targeted at specific people. There are magazines that deal in fiction but they publish short stories, flash fiction, or serials as opposed to novels. Cook books, self-help, religious views and a range of other non-fiction is better suited to magazines but still have their own sections in a book store.
Content in the Digital Age is an ongoing series of articles on consuming content in today’s world and the impact technology has had on people and industry.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on any of the subject matter discussed. Would love to hear from you and get your feedback!
– Shane Lamotte