Are the 2020s when print media will end? – WWD

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If you read enough comments from several media executives over the past few years, most anticipate a time when the print media era will come to an end.

While print products, subscriptions, and even steadily declining newsstand sales generally make publishers more money than digital, they also cost significantly more to produce. While publishers are still determined to make the money they can from the dwindling number of people who prefer a printed product to a screen, mainly by steadily raising the price of magazines and newspapers, more than ever the executives of the publishing are willing to admit that printing may not be part of the business forever.

“At least 10 years is what we can see in the United States for our printed products,” said Mark Thompson, CEO of The New York Times. “There may come a time when the saving of [the print paper] no longer makes sense to us.

Thompson said this on CNBC about 18 months ago. This is despite the fact that digital subscriptions to The Times are larger than ever at around 3.5 million and the company has ambitions to reach 10 million paid digital readers, a number that could likely launch a print business. continue, if that’s what the Times wanted.

Marty Baron, editor of the Washington Post, also believes print news has an expiration date. He told his own newspaper earlier this year that they could “reject the lingering idea that paper will be a long time in what we do.” It won’t. ”

Baron did not set a specific deadline, saying instead that printing will continue “for a while, yes”, but clearly adding: “It will not last”.

So the two largest and most successful American newspapers seem to be firmly in the corner of print becoming an issue in a “Jeopardy!” »Category on the beginning of the 21st century. What about technicians, like Google? The company uses newspaper and magazine content extensively for its primary search engine and has recently invested in news related projects.

Richard Gingras, a news and media veteran who is now vice president of information at Google, also doesn’t see print sticking around too long.

“Obviously, it’s going to run out of steam,” he said a year ago. “Five years, 10 years, I don’t know. If you just look at the younger generations, it doesn’t matter – our heads are in [our smartphones] all day. So what is the value of a printing vehicle? “

That makes two huge media sectors in the “end of printing” camp. Not surprisingly, magazines are a relative hurdle. The leaders of the magazines Condé Nast and Hearst see their titles, at least some of them, continue.

Although Hearst takes a tough turn to digital, with new leaders and a restructuring of the magazine sales business, the Content Director Kate lewis said she expects magazines to exist in 20 years, saying subscribers are still “strong.”

“Magazines can fill this [role] of a gift you give yourself, ”Lewis said. “In some cases they’re both an indulgence and a utility… it’s a combination of those things and I think there’s always an appetite. I really do. “

Roger Lynch, just a few months after his role of CEO of Condé, still sees a future for print, although likely on an even smaller scale than it currently is.

At Recode’s annual fall press conference, Lynch admitted that more of Condé’s 10 remaining print magazines “could make this transition. [to digital-only] at one point. He called Self – exhausted since 2017 after nearly 40 years – a success in this regard, saying the company has recovered. He didn’t have the same praise for Glamor, which shut down the regular print in 2018.

Lynch chose the now staple titles of Condé, Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Wired, GQ and Architectural Digest, like the ones he “can’t imagine” not going to print.

However, a handful of magazines do not constitute a strong print economy. The new era of the 1920s is probably the decade in which print magazines and newspapers are firmly in the past.

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