World famous print magazine Newsweek last week announced it would transition to an all-digital format in early 2013, with the December 31 issue set to be their last print edition in the United States.
This, along with the continued decline in major print publication sales numbers, is further evidence of the decline of print media. In a shock statement, Newsweek said: “Meanwhile, Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.”
This seems to spell the slow death of print publications, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and to a certain extent feature phones with Internet access.
In South Africa, it is expected that next year half of the 10 million of the phones to be sold in 2013 will be smartphones, thus adding to the already growing number of smartphone users in the country who continue to use their smartphones to consume digital content.
Further, Trevor Ncube of South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper recently announced that the newspaper’s online edition had achieved the staggering figure of over 900,000 unique monthly visitors, as compared to its print edition, which was averaging approximately 50,000 copies circulated per edition last year.
The problem seems to be reluctance to adopt digital that results from a possible lack of understanding of the digital publication business model. Whatever the reasons, it will not be too long before the publishers of print publications will need to wake up and come up with models to go digital and save their publications.