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In a recent Associated Press article European editors were interviewed about where they see the future of the newspaper. In the face of declining circulations and the onslaught of new media, you’d expect that they’d want to slit their wrists.
But no – the article reported the editors were “strikingly optimistic” about the future. In fact, it was reported that they saw the new media explosion more as an opportunity than a threat. The editors expressed confidence they could provide the content readers need – whether accessed on newsprint, a computer screen, a smart phone or a futuristic electronic scroll.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never subscribed to the claptrap of some zealots who prophesised the death of the newspaper. Then there are the nuts who still predict the end of the traditional media model in its entirety in the face of citizen media – but that’s another story.
For my part, I’ve consistently said that with the rise of online media and citizen media, the newspaper industry will not die, but continue to innovate, adapt and thrive.
In this country, newspapers that serve upper- to middle-income groups will be more affected than those serving lower-income groups, as a result of the cost of connectivity. Tabloids and weekend newspapers will continue to show growth, but dailies aimed at the upper or middle markets will be under the greatest pressure. For newspapers aimed at lower-income markets, content on cellphones represent the biggest opportunity or threat (depending on your view) due to healthy mobile penetration in these markets.
So what exactly will the newspapers of the future look like in this changing media environment? Here are a few predictions: