Traditional business models have helped the circulation of print newspapers develop and thrive through the years, however they have had to readjust and adapt. This is in part due to ever growing presence of online news publishing. This means that consumers can get news by the minute, while also sharing and talking about it through social media. As a result, this means that the idea of buying an out of date newspaper is unattainable and impractical, while up to the minute news is available online.
Alternative business models have made online news publishing far more lucrative and worthwhile. However, research has found that an increase in website traffic doesn’t necessarily lend itself to immediate digital revenue. Online advertising is more creative and intuitive, which helps to grab the attention of the consumer, whereas print adverts don’t always carry as much impact. Though, it does have to be said that Internet browsers have a flurry of different plugins that allows users to remove all adverts from videos on YouTube or content on iPlayer or 4od. When technology like this is available then companies have to think of a more abstract and innovative method of advertising and promoting.
“It’s of low marginal benefit, since they can’t even monetize all the [advertising] inventory they have right now,” Examiner CEO Rick Blair.
Importance and Effectiveness of Online Advertising
This is one of reasons why advertisements in print newspapers yield a higher percentage of revenue, however this comparison is only relevant when sales are adequate. When we talk about the reach of smaller regional papers online the power and influence of Google in terms of drawing in traffic is pivotal. This may not necessarily apply to the mainstream, although local, regional news still is very important to many people who may not necessarily live immediately in or nearby a city.
Online Digestible News
Consumers of news no longer have to have to put up with the inconveniences of broadsheet newspapers. Newspaper apps have made the news a skeuomorph. This involves still being able to purchase and hold a copy of the newspaper however it only exists as a digital copy. This makes the news familiar and accessible to a larger demographic who are use to the format and structure of a newspaper.
Digestible news available on news apps frequently includes a number of different images, photographs and diagrams – depending on the content of the news. Video content is also normally available; this means that users are able to get a better feel for the news story. This content may include footage from the scene, or alternatively it may have the option to stream updates and live content from an on-going story. This gives greater depth and more of a dynamic to s news story that would otherwise just exist as printed words on a newspaper.
Is Digital and Print Bundling a Good Idea?
The problem with a newspaper only existing as a digital format means that consumers are heavily reliant on having a smartphone or tablet with sufficient charge and also having the patience to explore and find out how to navigate through the newspaper. This has help to inform my approach to the possibility of digital and print newspaper bundling. This involves the ability to purchase either a print or digital copy then being able to acquire the other. I understand that the original purpose of developing a digital format is to provide a more convenient and portable alternative to a newspaper. However, I feel that together both a print and digital formats help to provide a more fulfilling and accomplished experience. Both formats have areas for improvement, which is why currently I feel that neither have the capabilities to monopolised news consumption.
“E-reading is shifting from dedicated e-readers to multipurpose tablets […] since evidence also suggests that tablet users prefer web-based content to apps.” Pew Research Center.
This research helps supports the idea that neither formats provide a stable and resourceful alternative which is why currently consumers are moving away from apps and looking at web-based news content. This initially suggests there is a problem with the functionality and usability of newspaper apps. This is because the whole point of them is to make news more readable and interactive.
Google News Discourages Original News Sources
The way that Google News is structured and setup means that it organises and collates a variety of different news sources all interlinked and relevant to each particular news story. The criticism that the service seems to advocate is the fact that the small descriptions below each link provides more than enough information, as a result this means that the original resource is completely neglected. This works as an advantage for Google as it keeps them from clicking away from their website.
On the other hand, original news sources that actually produce and publish the work are being completing overlooked and forgotten altogether. This may not seem too much of a problem for the consumer, anyhow the producer’s work isn’t even being considered. In most cases consumers will just read the information and click away from the page without taking into consideration the original source.
Robotic Journalism is Speeding Up Traditional Methods of Reporting News
Associated Press has taken the idea of collating and borrowing news from a variety of resources by investing in robotic journalism. Just like how machines have replaced workers in factories and on assembly lines, robotic journalism utilises high-speed technology to produce and publish news stories in seconds. This process would ordinarily be reliant on the speed of a journalist, whereas with robotic journalism basic templates can be inserted into Automated Insights, which then converts basic data into written reports that can be published online in seconds.
Robotic journalism also means that information and data can accurately and efficiently reach the necessary streams of communication so that consumers are informed immediately. This is where print newspapers lose their appeal in terms of producing up to date news coverage.
The Role of News Aggregators
News aggregators link to, copy or repackage content from traditional news organisations. It is essentially taking the overall idea and basis of a published news story and then using this to form a very similar story, which probably takes on a different angle or point of view.
“Building a business model around monetizing another website’s content isn’t novel, and methods for doing so have been around for almost as long as the Internet has been a commercial platform. Consider the practice of framing, or superimposing ads onto embedded websites. There’s also inline linking, or incorporating content from multiple websites into one single third-party site.” Kimberley Isbell, Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
This method of news publishing has been heavily criticised by the likes of Rupert Murdoch. This is understandable as it is unoriginal and lazy, because it means that certain news organisations can just rely on others to grab their content. It means that they just have to reword and restructure it so that it can then be published as their own. However news websites such as Mashable and BuzzFeed tend to take more of an alternative approach to mainstream news covered by the likes of BBC and The Huffington Post.
How Online News Can Take Advantage of New Emerging Technologies
As the price of tablets continues to deprecate and more companies start to produce their own copies, this will only mean that they will become ever more present in modern day culture. I feel that eventually news will no longer have a print circulation, as they will focus on producing up to the minute news. I feel that cheap tablets will be available to buy at the similar price to a newspaper, which can then be returned to collection points in and around cities and towns. This means that the same tablets can then be restored and repaired with news for the next day. This seems a way off currently, however as technology develops and improves this will become ever more possible.
The possibility of using commercial drones to help with the reporting of news is also being researched and invested in by companies such as Google. This would make reporting from high-risk areas or war zones more reliable and not so risky. This would allow news channels to fly over an area while capturing footage that can be relayed back to a study and make up the basis of a news story. Furthermore, drones could be adapted to deliver interviews outside courtrooms, allowing words from both locations to pass through the drone. It would remove the need for all the cautious that erupts when the subject of the story appears. These developments would help news reach a larger demographic and would also improve it’s efficiency, accuracy and veracity.