Saturday 26th of March marks the final day of print for the Independent, where will this leave other printed publications?
I can’t imagine that me telling you, ‘online news is now bigger than ever’ is going to create much excitement, it’s something that we are all becoming increasingly aware of as time goes on. As more of us find our news free from online sources, we look at where this inevitable change leaves traditional forms of media.
The first quarter of 2016 has seen some landmark events within modern day media. The very final copy of the Independent is due to be printed this Saturday (26th March), after it was announced that its print production will come to an end after three decades. The newspaper will now solely be online, pulling in 56 million monthly unique visitors.
It isn’t only the broadsheets being affected by these changes. Back in November 2015, FHM and ZOO decided to suspend print, bringing a firm end to the ‘lad’s mag’ era. Their counterpart, Nuts, also came to a close in April last year, as did ‘Loaded’. The latter did however return as an online-only publication under new ownership, vowing to rid of the scantily clad women, and focus more on music and men’s lifestyle.
For the first time, the switch to online has also stemmed into Television. Earlier this month BBC Three, the channel dedicated to re-runs of Family Guy and Don’t Tell the Bride, finally made its move online. The BBC Director General Tony Hall claimed this move would save the corporation £30m; it didn’t go without a fight however as a ‘Save BBC3’ campaign gained 300,000 signatures in an attempt to keep the channel firmly on TV.
Based on these events from the first quarter of 2016, it could be concluded that this year will mark the beginning of the end for ‘traditional’ forms of media, and in the upcoming years we will all begin to believe that our grandchildren will scoff at the thought of us ever purchasing our entertainment in physical form.
It’s no lie that the internet is the main form of accessing news and entertainment. Although many allude to the death of ‘traditional’ media, I’m not convinced that this is the case; the media simply has to adapt.
One form of media adapting well to this shift is radio. RAJAR figures from the end of 2015 show that 90% of the UK population tuned into the radio each week. In terms of digital radio, the ‘shift’ is clear – the figures illustrate that digital listening hours were up 10% on the previous quarter and 29 million adults have access to a DAB receiver.
Not only this, in February Trinity Mirror launched ‘New Day’. This is a print only publication which promised to be ‘politically neutral’, avoiding right-wing politics and allowing readers to get through it in less than 30 minutes.
If there was no profit in the publication of a new tabloid, it wouldn’t happen. New Day claims to ‘fill a gap in the market’ so there is potentially a need for this. Newspapers still make up a massive part of the UK media; The Daily Mail still sells over a million papers a day. Radio has adapted by gaining more presence within DAB radio, traditional stations still remain as they have adapted in an effective way, and radio is still prominent within people’s everyday lives. Publications like FHM and Nuts have died out because there is no need for this dated form of content any longer.
Although the shift to digital is probably inevitable, the traditional forms won’t ‘die out’ they will adapt to this, as the media has always done.
Chloe Shepherd - Digital Media Liaison @ Independent Media News