Eric Long

Is it the medium or lifestyle that’s changing our media consumption?

I don’t read newspapers.

I don’t watch the local news.

I don’t watch the national news.

This doesn’t mean that the news doesn’t matter to me but rather the way in which I consume the information does. I get my news in bite-sized chunks online as free minutes are available a couple of times throughout the day.

The Daily

Despite my fragmented habits of consuming “news,” I do however spend the time once per month to read magazines of interest to me. So how does “The Daily” fit into my routine?

“The Daily” iPad subscription for the news is an interesting concept. I have been testing it out and find myself liking the format but coming to the realization that it’s just not how I keep up with news anymore.

I feel like this is more of a product of me not having 30 minutes to dedicate each day to rather than it being because of the convenience of the free news available online. I don’t spend 30 minutes reading freely-available online news, either. It’s not that I’m unwilling to pay for content, I’m just unwilling to pay for content I won’t use.

The technology isn’t what’s changing my habits, it’s the pace of life and lifestyle that is.

I actually don’t hate the newspaper format. I enjoy the content available in newspapers — my lifestyle however doesn’t afford me the time to sit and read it each and every day.

If my favorite magazine came via an iPad subscription, I would prefer to read it that way vs. on paper. But that’s more a product of leveraging the convenience of the device rather than despising the paper it’s printed on.

Is the newspaper industry dying because of technology or because of consumer lifestyles?

A little bit of both. But I think it’s more a product of consumer lifestyle than anything. Many people aren’t paying for a newspaper anymore not because the content quality is poor but rather because they can’t dedicate the time out of their day to sit and read. The Sunday newspaper probably remains the most-kept subscription because of the coupons and also because that’s a day of the week where many do have a few moments to sit and unwind (all speculation – I have no data to support this).

The industry must adapt to the changing behaviors of consumers, not simply move the same concept to another medium.

The newspaper industry needs to instead learn how to deliver news that caters to the faster-paced lifestyles of consumers. It’s certainly not in the printed format and it may very well not be via an iPad subscription. The iPad subscription of The Daily is no different from a newspaper — I still need to dedicate time I don’t have to reading it.

I hope The Daily succeeds because it will provide a blueprint for other traditional publishers to make the switch to Digital Media and we will see some creative work come out of it. However, the concept is fundamentally flawed because it has taken the same business model and made it available on a different medium — and its demise may very well be because consumers’ reading habits for the news simply aren’t what they used to be.

One Response

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  1. Pete
    Pete September 29, 2011 at 10:46 am |

    Interesting topic. I'm not an iPad user yet but I to don't watch TV news, read newspapers etc but I do catch some news items that get posted on Facebook but ideally, I'd like a daily email with personalised selection of International & local news headlines, so I can click through to read more on an item if I wish.

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