It has begun and it is not pretty.
This week, the press at the The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has fallen silent, and the newspaper has gone purely digital. More than 165 people lost their jobs, while 20 were left to take care of the digital version. Unfortunately this is a story that will be repeated more than a few times in the next couple of months. Online pundits like 21wallst.com have boldly predicted 10 Major Newspapers that will fold or go digital next. The scary part is that people are not arguing against that prediction.
Part of that news caught my attention - the part about going purely digital.
I have met, in the last 6 months, with sales reps from various International Newspapers like Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal and they have increasingly been trying to sell their dot com versions. At first it was the regular sales rep pushing the dot com as an extra or an after thought; these days they are bringing their digital sales colleagues.
Pew recently conducted some research about newspapers in the US found that almost half (47% ) of the population will not miss their local papers. If that wasn't bad enough, Pew found that only 27% of Gen Y (those born after 1977), read a newspaper yesterday. The future indeed looks bleak for newspapers.
Fortunately Newspapers are in a grace period; a cusp. The recognized brand names from the now defunct newspapers have moved online, so currently they are straddling the traditional-new media divide. But sooner or later they will have to choose which side of the divide they want to be on. However once they go fully digital, their name recognition may not be able to help them against the various established dot com news sources.
What then is The Seattle Post-Intelligencer? Obviously it is a newspaper no longer but a merely a online news source. Somehow I find that a sad thing.
Cross posted from Stop Advertising Now.