Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ICT threatens the future of Print Media

Technology Warning Technology giveth. Technology taketh away. Whilst technological advancements in ICT bringeth many opportunities, they also killeth some opportunities. Do you remember the days of phone shops? Have you forgotten so soon? Do you recall the days when internet cafes were flourishing. Now with mobile phones, everyone turned into a phone shop themselves. With mobile broadband everyone becometh an internet cafe of their own? What is the result then? We saw many phone shop business operators going out of business. We saw many internet cafes closing down and the few that remaineth struggle.


The print media has not been spared by ICT technology. More and more people now prefer to read their news online on the websites. If I have the news online I have fewer reasons to buy a printed copy of the newspaper. If fewer people buy print copies, then media houses have fewer copies to print and fewer copies to sell. If there are fewer copies to sell, then media houses have fewer newspaper vendors to engage and businesses have fewer reasons to put ads in the newspaper.

Indeed the proliferation and popularity of online classified ad services like classifieds.co.zw definitely indicate the shift from conventional newspaper classifieds to online classifieds. In business the people are the market and the market are the people. More and more people now spend their time online on laptops, ipads and mobile phones.

It is interesting that Zimbabwe media houses have been aware of this and have tried to innovate by promoting online news publications like www.herald.co.zw and www.newsday.co.zw  They have even gone to such an extent of promoting Mobile News services like the Herald's Mobile News and AMH's News 365. But the big question is, will these efforts suffice in generating income as much as the print newspapers used to do? It is interesting to note that print media generateth most of its income through adverts than the sales of the newspapers themselves.

I can see than one day in the future, newspapers will stop printing. As more and more people access the newspapers online, fewer and fewer people will continue buying until advertisers realize that inserting print ads does not pay. If advertisers stop placing ads the print media is dead, for the $1 you pay to buy a newspaper is not even enough to print one colour page of the newspaper. Print publications account for 80-90% of the income of most media houses! This will be the death of print media. REST IN PEACE!

It happens, it has happened somewhere. Ask the Newsweek publication why they stopped printing  in December 2012 after 80 years of printing! I am sure more news publications will follow suit in the future world wide, of course provided the Lord Jesus's second coming will still be pending. Media houses must be prepared, like Scar in Lion King cartoon sung to the hyenas "Be Prepared" for a new era of Scar's rule!" Sorry I watch too much cartoon. It may be slow but it's coming. I am sure some have already begun to feel the heat.

How are all those media houses going to survive? Will retrenchments be avoidable? It needs them to be innovative, to have an eye that sees into the future! Like what the monkey on Lion King Cartoon told Timon "Look beyond what you see, Beyond what you see!" and make hay whislt the sun is still shining!  (Sorry, cartoons again!) They have to learn to make money online!  They have to "Technovate!" But, will ads on an online news publicaton match with the revenue genarated by one publication of the print media?

Let me summarize it like this:

More Mobile Phones + Cheaper Mobile Broadband = Death Of Print Media

 My friends in the print media have to think..think and think harder. They have to think outside the box. My colleagues sitting in executive ICT positons in the print media:
"Look beyond what you see! Beyond what you see!"





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