You Saw It on the News… But Probably Not the Printed Kind

futurelab default header

A new report on the US media has confirmed what we already know – that most of us are now getting our daily news fix online and on mobile devices.

Newspapers saw their ad revenues fall by six per cent last year, in a climate where virtually all media sectors improved their performance, newspapers were the exception. In fact, 2010 was the first year that online publications overtook newspapers in both ad revenue and readers.

According to PEJ who released the report, nearly half of all Americans get their news on a mobile device. 46 per cent of us now log on at least three times a week to get the latest headlines, more than those who still like to flick through the local paper.

So what does this mean for the future of advertising? Are newspapers about to hit the shredder? What this report does show is that as consumers we’re becoming increasingly detached from our TVs and papers. TV is still the most popular news platform in the US, but we want the news delivered when we say so, in a format we like, wherever and whenever we want it.

PEJ are right when they say this audience understanding is crucial – because we’re not the same people we used to be, happy to sit in front of the TV all the time, or reading the papers with breakfast. Who has the time to do that these days?

The figures speak for themselves. Emarketer says that a staggering $25.8 billion was spent on online advertising in 2010, a growth of over 13 per cent. PEJ estimates that newspapers took just over $22 billion in comparison.

Interestingly, it seems however that newspapers may still survive in some format or another in the future – just remove the word ‘paper’. Nearly a quarter of us would be willing to pay five bucks a month for an online version of our local paper if the printing presses ground to a halt.

It would be an interesting experiment to see how many of us could truly revert back to newspapers as our only news source for a month. Perhaps their role is complementary now – a ‘nice to have’ – rather than being the news-leading, headline-breaking, daily must-have they used to be. Because let’s not forget, by the time the ink has dried and the newspaper is on the stands, it’s old news already.

What do you think? Would you be sad to fold up your local paper for the last time?

Image by: just.Luc

Original Post: