There is reason for hope among newspaper editors following the release of a new study into the nation’s news consumption habits.
Despite plummeting circulations, falling ad revenues and a general assumption that the internet will condemn newspapers to a long and lingering death, the KPMG International study shows that “old media” is still competing well.
Of the 1,010 people questioned, 52% said television was their primary news source, with newspapers in second place at 24%. Radio accounted for 15%, while just 8% identified the net as their preferred source of news.
It would be entirely possible and plausible for some newspaper executives to put a positive spin on this survey – I know, I’ve heard it in various newsrooms in recent years – and maintain that the internet does not pose as great a threat as some claim.
But arguably they should ignore most of the study and focus on the findings of the 18-25 age group – the consumers who will help shape trends over the coming years.
This age group has the lowest television news consumption (44%), while 26% said the internet was their first means of getting news, compared with 21% using newspapers.
I believe newspapers do still have a future, but they need to embrace the technological advances and the changing attitudes towards the media in general. It isn’t enough to secure their place in years to come, newspapers need to enhance their position and challenge other media outlets.
Using the internet, using blogs, using video should all become the new tricks of the second oldest profession.
But they also need to ensure they do it properly and they do it well, otherwise they will lose the increasingly sophisticated and savvy media consumers who are happy to keep trawling until they find what they want.