Printed papers are dead – or maybe not

01-03-2018

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News are cost-free on the web, so why buying a newspaper? People get informed on the Internet, so why investing on printed media? Decreasing audience and advertisement makes us forecast the possible (someone say forthcoming) death of traditional papers, which also suffer from dropping prestige and reputation. But latest data from US and Italy might suggest a different evolution.

According to a survey by Media Insight Project, 1 American out of 2 (that’s 53%) pays to get informed, thus has at least one subscription to a newspaper printed or digital edition. Interesting to notice that also 40% of under 35 people does so. In the US, subscriptions are a highly interesting model for many media, starting from New York Times, with about 2.6 million subscribers generating 60% of total revenues, and Washington Post, accounting for about one million paying users.

In Italy, despite the negative trend, latest data by Audipress confirm that daily papers have an average of about 25 million readings on printed or digital editions (about 17 million people), weeklies exceed 24 million readings (14 million people) and monthlies have 22 million readings (12 million people).

Are we preparing for a U-turn? It’s hard to say, but the overflow of fake news on web and social cracked platforms’ credibility and let readers reconsider the value of verified and professional information, offering insights to understand the political, social, economical and cultural changes we are facing.

Media have the arduous challenge of win back readers’ and investors’ trust by accelerating innovation and, above all, seeking quality. As La Stampa chief editor Maurizio Molinari wrote, “When History speeds up, quality makes a difference in the relationship between media and their audience”.