Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The writing is on the wall: the end of printed newspapers is nigh. But how nigh? New study says five years.

USC Center for the Digital Future STUDY >>

via Guardian STORY >>

Back in late 2010, the chairman and publisher of The New York Times, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., said that the writing was on the wall: printed newspapers won't be around much longer. “We will stop printing The New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD,” said Mr. Sulzberger.

So, what's the TBD part? According to a study done by the University of Southern California, TBD = 5. In five years, it is claimed, most printed newspapers in the U.S. will be gone, replaced by tablets and smartphones and laptops and internet-connected big-screen TVs.

If not in five years, certainly within 10. And then we will explain to our children and grandchildren how the newspaper used to be delivered at our doorsteps just like our parents and grandparents told us how the milkman came each day to drop off a bottle or two.

Will print be missed? As the telephone became ubiquitous, there was grumblings of how that device would take away the charm of the personal messenger. And now this message is clear: it's time to move on. It's written in black and white.

Jeffrey I. Cole, director of USC's Center for the Digital Future: “Circulation of print newspapers continues to plummet, and we believe that the only print newspapers that will survive will be at the extremes of the medium – the largest and the smallest,” said Cole. It’s likely that only four major daily newspapers will continue in print form: The New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. At the other extreme, local weekly newspapers may still survive.”

Tablets are on a roll. Is it soon the end of newsprint?


Dipankar said...

Peter, I wouldn't have believed this possible maybe a month or so back. I always thought that a tablet or smartphone screen can never replace written media. But I recently started using an iPhone, and I can now see what you mean. Even on the small iPhone screen, reading ebooks is a pretty compelling experience (and the fact that iTunes offered me the complete Sherlock Holmes series for free!). I can imagine it would be great on iPads.

Peter Bryer: Mobile Foresighter said...

Hi Dipankar,
Yes, the death of print is inevitable.
The sad thing is, the death of print will mean a lot of economic disruption for a lot of people. Think about how many jobs there are supported print and distribution.