Newspapers: The End of an Era?


Newspapers have been around for centuries and are a common sight in everyday life wherever you go. Despite the emergence of the internet age, newspapers have established considerable market share. Although several (often smaller) newspapers have gone out of business due to online access, the larger and traditional newspapers have survived. The question that I will raise here is whether newspapers and tabloids will still be around in their current form within 20 to 50 years.

In current day and age, people grow busier and more demanding. With the information technology around people demand easy access as well as a perfect fit with their needs. The same demands will hold for newspapers and tabloids. Because let’s be honest; how often is it that you read your local newspaper (if you even have one) from cover to back? The people that have a newspaper quickly skim to the articles and topics they like before heading to work. On the other hand, people that don’t have a physical newspaper skim articles of lesser quality on free online websites. In order to address this problem, a new player has entered the Dutch market: Blendle.

With Blendle you can access and read articles of every quality Dutch newspaper and tabloid. But, instead of paying for all these different media, you only pay for the articles that you are interested in. Instead of buying a newspaper for €2,-  and only reading the 4 articles that you are interested in, you can now just buy the 4 articles for, for example, €0.15 each. With Blendle you can see the title of an article and the first paragraph; if you’re interested you can opt to buy the entire article. Even if you click the wrong article, you can still go back because the first 15 seconds are free of charge. Blendle is compatible with phones, tablets and regular computers and laptops. Right now, they are a small player compared to the large Dutch newspapers. Will Blendle catch up with traditional newspapers and tabloids, or will it slowly dissipate?

The combination between social media and a local kiosk has not gone unnoticed. Advantages are that it saves people time and money while giving them access to all quality newspapers and tabloids in the Netherlands. Other people argue that this could mean the end for several publishers, because as a result of Blendle, people might cancel their normal subscription. I, however, believe that for now it is an aid to newspapers and tabloids. Because of Blendle, people might become interested in your medium.

I believe that this idea may globally evolve. A concept like Blendle could serve as an iTunes or Netflix for news articles. I do not, however, think that it will disrupt and overthrow the traditional newspaper market. There will always be people who prefer to have a physical newspaper in their hands.

What do you think? Do you like the idea of paying for certain articles, or do you prefer having physical newspaper of tabloid with the risk of not reading more than 50% of its content?

Sources:

https://launch.blendle.nl/welkom/

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/sep/12/digital-newspaper-readerships-national-survey

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One response to “Newspapers: The End of an Era?”

  1. 360138sw says :

    Very interesting topic, thanks for your blog post. You mention that you think that physical newspapers will never disappear entirely, because there are always some people that prefer to have a physical newspaper in their hands. But what if this group of people becomes so small eventually that for publishers it’s not profitable anymore to keep printing physical newspapers? I believe that at some point this will be the case, although it may not be soon. Maybe at that point it occurs that the concept you describe, Blendle, will become an option. However, I doubt that people will then pay to read their news online, since there are also free articles available. Regarding this you say that those articles that are available for free are of lesser quality, so I wonder, if this is already the case in the first place, if people will really care at that moment. Especially younger generations that grew up with applications and websites such as nu.nl might care less about the extensiveness of a news report than older generations. I think the willingness to pay for reading news can be associated with obtaining a physical newspaper for a big part and the difference between online paying and reading for free is not big enough. Perhaps a small group of people will be willing to pay, but I do not think that this group will have the same size of the group that once had a physical newspaper.

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