Wed, May 11 2016
At first we had projections of the paperless office. It was talked about as though the introduction of computers into workplaces would make it happen almost overnight.
It didn’t, of course. But it was a big change that picked up momentum, and it has by and large become reality.
Now we have the rise of newspaperless news. It’s far from happening overnight in Australia and New Zealand, or anywhere else. But it’s picking up momentum everywhere.
Print circulation, readership and advertising are decreasing, while all aspects of the shift to online news are on the increase, driven by consumer uptake of new and improved technology – especially mobile technology – and fundamental shifts in consumer preferences and behaviours.
In February, The Independent announced that it would become the first national newspaper in the United Kingdom to move to a digital-only future, and its last paper edition was printed the following month. Its increasingly profitable website’s monthly audience grew 33% in 2015, to nearly 70 million individual users around the world.
“The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers. They’re showing us that the future is digital,” said Evgeny Lebedev, owner of The Independent, in a report in his own newspaper.
While Australasia’s major newspaper titles are yet to turn the page to going digital-only, a step in that direction is downsizing from broadsheet to tabloid format. Or as the loftier players prefer to call it, ‘compact print format’. The Canberra Times recently announced that it will go that way later this year, following in the footsteps of Fairfax stablemates The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Defining a timeframe for their final leap to digital-only isn’t easy.
As an indication of the rate of change, and of the diversification in news sources consumers are using, the combined Monday-to-Friday print readership of Australia’s eight biggest-selling newspapers fell 6.3% in 2015, according to Roy Morgan Research. Readership declined to varying degrees for all eight.
Meanwhile, at their online sites, web/app audiences increased for six of them. Overall there was a 3.5% decline in cross-platform audience.
Traditional publishers are striving to maintain their print audiences while innovating and forming partnerships in the digital sphere to make the shift as seamless and profitable as they can.
Inseparable from this is their fight to maintain the market for the sort of professional, in-depth journalism and opinion they’ve been selling for more than a century. They have been competing with the soundbite nature of broadcast news for a long time – now all the more so, as truncated text-and-video bulletins score millions of hits an hour through social media links and the vast choice of mobile news apps.
At the same time, numerous online-only global news services have entered the market downunder, such as Daily Mail Australia and Guardian Australia.
So has BuzzFeed Australia. As a sign of the times and things to come, New York-based BuzzFeed pumps out “social news and entertainment” that blurs, if not eliminates, the lines between real news and the kind of amusing/sensational posts that create a viral buzz on social media.
socialmedianews.com.au says its research indicates that the number of Australians using Facebook at least once in any one month reached 15 million in January this year. In the same month, 14 million Australians accessed YouTube. Official Facebook statistics are hard to come by, but a senior executive said in April that its mobile platforms were being visited by 11 million Australians a day.
For an ever-increasing number of people, ‘what’s going on’ isn’t defined by a daily display of professionally prioritised headlines printed on paper anymore. It’s on a screen – probably handheld and mobile – and content is determined by what fits into that format, the algorithms of personalised social media, and preferences shared with ‘friends’.
While news consumption is changing its value to business is increasing
The internet has drastically reduced the size of the world. No longer do you have to be in Sydney to read the Australian, or be in Japan to read Japanese commentary on local industrial issues.
Media-monitoring solutions can help organisations sift through print, web, broadcast and social content to uncover actionable insights.
LexisNexis Media Monitoring
LexisNexis Newsdesk - a next-generation all-in-one media monitoring, analysis & distribution solution in near real-time - http://bis.lexisnexis.com.au/media-monitoring.html
Contact Lexis Nexis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Nicole Godfrey, Marketing Planning Manager, Lexis Nexis.