Edited by Ruth Towse and Christian Handke
The dominant discourse on the future of newspapers is build around threat. Circulation, readership and advertising revenues are dropping at a fast rate, presumably because of the Internet. Audiences ñ especially younger groups ñ and advertisers move online, which leaves papers with a declining and ageing readership, less revenue and the threat of extinction. Meyer (2004) estimated that in 2043 no American would read a daily newspaper. At the same time, but less prominent, we also find a discourse of hope. In this discourse, digital technologies enable journalistic innovation, product customization and customer involvement. Whether out of fear or out of hope, newspaper publishers feel the urgent need to go online, following readers and advertisers. ëEven the most confident of newspaper bossesí, wrote the Economist (2006, n.p.), ënow agree that they will survive in the long term only if . . . they can reinvent themselves on the Internet and on other new-media platforms such as mobile phones and portable electronic devices.í But, so far, online strategies of news providers turn out to be commercially far less successful than print strategies. Moreover, online successes tend to be developed by enterprises without a stake in traditional newspapers. In this chapter we first review the economic characteristics of news. Next, we track developments in the newspaper industry in some detail. Finally, we review some solutions and discuss the main strategic approaches that publishers adopt in the digital age.
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