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Tag - newspaper decline

The King is (Almost) Dead, Long Live the King

Advertising spend figures confirm that although print is on the verge of receiving the last rites, its successor – online content – is healthy and ready to rule…
You know the saying ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’? Well, there are a few nervous old-media executives desperately hoping that the recently released 2010-11 financial year advertising-spend stats are nothing but insidious lies.
According to the figures from research house SMI, as reported in ‘The Australian’, the $13 billion Australian advertising market is in decline, with newspapers (down 13.4 per cent) and magazines (down 17 per cent) being hit hardest.
Television and radio are also down (6.6 per cent and 4.9 per cent) respectively, while cinema advertising (which isn’t technically part of old media, but is an important indicator of where and how consumers are spending their entertainment dollars) has fallen by an alarming 26.7 per cent.
Online ad spends, meanwhile, have risen in the last financial year. Only by 5.2 per cent, but in the context of across-the-board falls in the other media sectors, that represents a remarkable result.
So what conclusions can we draw from this? Well, for starters it seems that social media and online content is not only to blame for the decline in the quality of newspaper content, but for the demise of newspapers in printed format.
End of an era
Media analyst Roger Statton Colman has claimed that ‘the death of The SMH and The Age as profitable papers will occur this decade’, as readers and advertisers alike have been lost to online platforms over the last few years.
The question is whether such circulation and revenue declines can be reversed by transferring traditional publications to the online space. Print executives certainly believe mastheads and quality journalism has a future online. But with more and more people preferring to receive their news and information on a peer-to-peer rather than publication-to-people level, a large question mark hovers Sword of Damocles-style over that assumption.
What is unarguable is that online content is the future. It may be possible for past and present publishing models to stake a claim on that future, it may not. But every organisation in every industry needs to have a compelling online presence across a variety of platforms, including websites, social media and mobile content.

The advertisers already know that online is where the consumers are heading in their droves – that’s why they’re spending there.
It’s time for everyone else to realise that, too.
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The End is Nigh?

Is social media to blame for  the decline in quality of newspaper content?
Have you noticed that something is happening with our newspapers?

We’re not talking about the increasing reliance on social media for sources or the changing landscape for paid online news content. Rather, the issue is the apathy running through the traditional printed media – almost as if there is an acceptance that the end is nigh. And it’s manifesting itself in the fact that broadsheets both at home and abroad are running stories that… well, aren’t really stories at all.
People expect a certain amount of fluff from the tabloids – sensationalist headlines, paparazzi shots, tacky, tawdry tell-alls. But when you pick up a broadsheet like the Sydney Morning Herald or The Age (or, more likely, look at the online versions), you expect to read content with a little more substance.
Instead, you get articles headlined ‘Potter Star’s Alcohol Battle’, revealing that Daniel Radcliffe admitted in an interview with GQ Magazine that once he turned 18 he developed a taste for alcohol. Shock horror! He then quickly realised the error of his ways (after never once being caught in a compromising position on camera) and now doesn’t drink. He is 21.
Let’s just sum up the most significant points of the article, shall we? Child star turns 18. Drinks and parties with his friends. Decides he likes sitting at home better. Stops drinking. The end.
It’s bad enough when we see headlines featuring Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan non-compos mentis, but at least they’ve got a slew of sleazy photos, drink-driving convictions and substance abuse issues to back up their ‘troubled teen’ images. Poor Dan doesn’t really have the street cred, when it comes down to it.
Content losing its lustre
The article isn’t even based on a direct interview with the Harry Potter star, but on a story in the UK Daily Telegraph (a broadsheet, by the way), which had cobbled together a few quotes from the original article as it appeared in GQ. All of which represents a poorly disguised attempt to jump on the bandwagon that is the impending release of the final Harry Potter film – from two newspapers that rather self-righteously boast of their commitment to ‘quality’.

Another example of journalism that would make Woodward and Bernstein shudder appeared on the SMH website recently, but at least there was a deep-throat involved: one Joey Chestnut, who retained his world record over the weekend by putting away an impressive 62 hot dogs at New York’s Coney Island. Thank god we had people on the front line to report it.
So why is this happening? Is it confirmation that we really do live in a superficial society where style is more important than substance? Is it a case of journalists throwing up their hands in the face of ubiquitous citizen journalism? Do they have insider knowledge that the whole industry is about to fall in a heap? Or is the pressure of updating the news four, five and six times a day finally getting to our noble men and women of the press – has quantity taken over from quality when it comes to the content they produce?
And does it even matter?
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