There’s life in them yet: why it’s too early to call the death of print

6 Jul 2012

Brian McNair discusses the longevity of print media in The Conversation.

I SAY “crisis”, but let’s be clear: news organisations are still making profits. Maybe not as much as they used to in the pre-internet days of “rivers of gold” and “licenses to print money” (as one UK boss once referred to commercial TV many years ago); and maybe not in every sub-sector and division (though cross-subsidy has always been part of the news business). But money they continue to make, even in print, most of them. News Ltd sells 11 million papers a week in Australia; Fairfax nearly five million.

These are significant numbers, and the resilience of the paid-for subscription model should not be underestimated, even as print struggles and pessimistic rhetorics of journalistic decline proliferate. Those suffering in the short term are the foot soldiers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, sacrificed in an effort to maintain the relatively high profit margins which news organisations have traditionally enjoyed, and shareholders have come to expect.

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Image: Flickr / Marion Doss

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