Minority Report paperA very interesting piece in The Guardian breaks down the problems that Big Media is having with competition from the internet – especially news media. In particular, this stems from the grim results reported at Daily Mail and General Trust PLC, the publisher of the UK Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday. leading to a big drop in its share price. Professor of journalism at London City University and sometime Guardian columnist Roy Greenslade promptly concluded that “Suddenly, national newspapers are heading for that print cliff fall.” Over at the Financial Times, John Gapper rounded up all the print newspapers facing similar fates – including The Guardian itself.

DMGT recorded a 13 percent fall in print advertising revenue over a six-month period, and warned of “further deterioration in the print advertising market.” Relatively healthy performance at the Mail Online website, and digital media revenue growth of 24 percent, as reported by the Financial Times, didn’t stave off investor pessimism. DMGT and almost all other print news media in the UK at least – and probably in most other developed markets – now simply cannot lure advertisers back from the far more rewarding social media platforms. According to The Guardian, Google, Facebook, and Twitter between them now have 54 percent of the UK digital ad market by value.

Greenslade duly noted that: “I am in Ireland to address the Irish Press Council’s annual general meeting in a lecture entitled ‘Have newspapers got a future?’ My theme is that they have no future. Declining circulation figures tell us that people are switching week by week from print to screen … the newspaper industry’s business model is wrecked.”

This echoes the comments recently reported in TeleRead from The Guardian, by Justin Smith, head of the Bloomberg publishing unit Bloomberg Media, that established media players were “feeding on the scraps” from Facebook’s own ad business. Newspapers above all don’t seem to be doing the best job of migrating their value proposition online. And our e-reading of news in future may take place on Minority Report-style e-paper broadsheets, but it looks like we’ll be very lucky if those still carry the same mastheads – in e-ink or otherwise.


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