Here are 10 predictions for the newspaper industry of the future.
I picked this list from a column veteran Asian media Cyril Pereira presents has written for the IFRA magazine. Pereira is the founder of Telesis Consulting and has also served as director of newspaper operations at South China Morning Post.
I thought the column gave some interesting reflections about the future of newspaper. Here is an abbreviated version:
- There will be a sharp separation between free and paid daily papers as news becomes freely available digitally.
- The gossip, celebrity and sports newspapers will be free. These papers will be wholly dependent on advertising support.
- There will be a market for paid newspapers serving the highly educated, super-elite leisure class with demand for superior commentary and analysis of substantive business and political issues.
- Free tabloids and web/mobile equivalents serving social gossip and visual titillation will be the news opium of the masses.
- Content editors for paid elite papers will have to redefine journalism beyond general news, including incorporating to much larger extent external expertise.
- Content publishing will become increasingly channel-neutral.
- Journalists and editors will need to be multi-channel skilled.
- The commercial logic of each channel and how advertisers use them will mirror how consumers access information.
- All media will be rich in color and quality, whether newspapers or mobile phones.
- No one brand will be equally preferred in all channels and formats. Consumers will select “best of breed” between channels and formats.
This analysis is based on the assumption that newspapers will continue more or less with the same business as today. Within this framework Pereira’s division of what type of papers will be free and paid is interesting.
However, other media analysts of course are taking a completely different perspective, exploring whether there are indeed alternative business models to be found.
From today’s reading, I recommend you to check out Mark Glaser’s posting at MediaShift: Your Guide to Alternative Business Models for Newspapers. Among his suggestions: Classified networks, crowdfunding, customized papers, niche sites and paid content.
Glaser’s conclusion: “A successful online newspaper will need a mix of many different revenue streams to survive in the digital age.”