Thursday, June 29, 2006

Digital newspapers looking for orientation

Preparing the next issue of the newsletter Content Market Monitor, my attention was drawn by a recent report Is the writing on the wall?: the future of digital newspapers. The report is written by the UK consultancy EPS, which is run amongst others by David Worlock, a real online veteran. I met him during the eighties in London, when I was working for VNU. At that time he was working for a legal online service. When the company went broke or was acquired by a US company, he and a colleague started EPS.

In the report EPS notes that the decline of a major revenue stream, classified advertising, is a severe threat to the newspaper industry if it continues at current levels or worsens. Furthermore the availability of largely free news sources online means that, particularly for younger generations, news consumption habits are shifting away from the print newspaper.

Online, very few newspapers have been able to sustain a paid-for business model. Advertising rules the online news space.

After what has looked like a period of complacency, many newspapers are realising the urgency with which they must act to develop new digital revenues. To be competitive will require an appreciation of the capabilities and potential of an interactive medium, and an understanding of how news can fit into the broader trends sweeping the web. Opportunities are there for the taking – but doing so will need a determination to meet the challenges of the digital age.

Summary of report


Blog Posting Number 425

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