IT’S been really interesting to see how many newspapers are promoting digital editions. Offering virtual, 24/7, global access to their content, it seems the battle about paywalls (where readers pay a subscription to view content online) has gone down in a blaze of free content.
I’ve signed on for free daily digests of two daily newspapers – one Irish, and one UK – and have signed up for Facebook updates from a US daily newspaper. Why? It’s an experiment to see whether I can survive without the physical ‘feel’ of a newspaper, and still gain as much current affairs info as I need.
It’s a challenging time for newspapers and, as businesses, media companies must look at how people interact with newspapers – indeed, many buy a newspaper to fill in the crossword or Sudoku, with news as a secondary concern. Equally, many skip the business section altogether, or the sports section altogether, leaving whole pages unread because it’s not their area of interest.
And if you can customise your Google news page to show just Irish or international, health or showbiz, business or sports news, is there an argument for papers to fragment their offering into the bite-sizes that punters get online. Now, more than ever, the headline is the attention grabber, tempting the reader to click the story online or stay on the page in a print edition.
Whatever happens, my biggest surprise is how many people in my circle, who are interested in current affairs and are informed, rely on broadcast or online media for their information.
The interesting thing, in light of all these digital editions coming on stream, is which newspaper will be the first to stop offering a printed edition …