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Traditional Print Media versus Online Media (Again)

There seems to be no easy answer to the question as to whether the traditional print media can still remain relevant with the advent of various online publication platforms, such as blogs, ebooks, etc.

Newspaper circulations can go up as well as down – even in the internet age. Image courtesy of guardian.co.uk

The notion of ‘free’ (as in beer) of the online media is a tough nut to crack in the eyes of print media executives. Print media organizations have little choice but the embrace the web as well. Nowadays, most of them have an online presence as well. Some provide online contents for free, some provide ‘premium’ contents for a fee. But their bread and butter are still the ever shrinking revenues from traditional print media, such as newspapers, books and magazines.

The advent of devices such as Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad exacerbated the problems even further. In a desperate attempt to protect their print media revenues while appearing to embrace the online media, publishers have been trying to keep prices of ebooks high so as not to canibalize their traditional print media business. This has resulted in an on-going war between the publishers and online media platform owners such as Amazon. In the latest development, Amazon has openly pinned the blame on the publishers for the high prices of its ebooks.

Therefore, the following piece of good news must have been a breath of fresh air to the print media executives: according to the latest report by a media analyst, Jim Chisholm, there seems to be no correlation between a rise in internet traffic and a fall in newspaper circulation. Some papers are growing in both formats, others are succeeding in neither, according to new research.

Some may argue that these findings are flawed as there are many factors why traditional media circulation may still do well despite the onslaught of online publication. It does not necessarily mean there is no correlation between the two.

I believe there is always a place for print media, albeit its role in our everyday lives will be diminished thanks to the convenience of online media. After all, nothing can beat reading a book on printed paper. Not just yet.

I guess only time will tell.

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Numbers Don’t Lie: Print Media Isn’t Going Anywhere Soon

I recently stumbled upon an interesting blog entry by Jeremy Porter on http://blog.journalistics.com/. He talks about how the major newspapers in the U.S. stack up against each others in terms of circulation and other criteria.

He cited the following circulation numbers from report by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for the month of March 2010:

  1. Wall Street Journal – 2,092,523
  2. USA Today    1,826,622
  3. New York Times    951,063
  4. Los Angeles Times    616,606
  5. Washington Post    578,482
  6. Daily News    535,059
  7. New York Post    525,004
  8. San Jose Mercury News / Contra Costa Times / Oakland Tribune  516,701
  9. Chicago Tribune    516,032
  10. Houston Chronicle    494,131

At a glance, these numbers certainly look very impressive considering how the digital media has been aggressively encroaching the turf of the traditional print media. In the past decade or so, the print media industry has been struggling to reinvent itself while trying to protect its bread and butter publishing business. Well, it seems like they should be relieved to find that the sky isn’t falling tomorrow… or anytime soon.

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From Social Networking to Hollywood Screen

Perhaps only a bright genius who is simply completely lacking in social etiquette or awareness could have created a computer program to reductively summarize all social connections like Facebook. As David Fincher’s The Social Network sees him, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook was a guy who viewed just about everything in black and white or 0s and 1s and found a way to apply that to social interactions. To those he knew in his own social circles, his constant 1 and 0 was that he is right and anyone else is wrong.

The new paradigm of social networking is nothing short of a modern day revolution. It opens up a whole new avenue for people to exchange information and latest news. The fact that The Social Network movie has been extremely well-received by movie critics and movie goers alike is certainly a testament to how social networking platforms, particularly Facebook has become such an integral part of our daily lives.

Personally, this movie is closer to heart than most movies that I have watched in the past. I guess it has more to do with the fact that the movie is about my social networking site rather than the movie plot itself.

The Social Network
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Size Does Matter

The online iPad magazine application does look appealing, but it is actually difficult to read. I was very amazed by the style of the first magazine, but by the time I bought the second one, I was already annoyed by it. The graphics aren’t assisting the content. It is boxing it in, limiting it, and generally overloading your brain so you forget what the article and story is about.

Too many iPad developers’ mistake rich media for rich graphics, but that is not what it means. It means that the content is “rich” in its delivery. You make richer content; it’s not about making pretty frames.

I would have agreed that the internet IS better. BUT here’s the thing. I still have subscriptions to “regular” magazines, even though I could probably find that content online for free. Why? When online has all these benefits? The truth is, there is still room for a traditional market. Yes, it will lose some of it’s share of the market, but there has always been something special about picking up that pad of paper, whether you have an internet connection or not. When you’re on the bus, or train, or on your lunch break at work. The iPad magazines are somewhat of a compromise. They’re not perfect from a tech standpoint, they’re not perfect as something to hold in your hands. But they’re a nice midpoint. Improving many aspects of traditional magazines while still keeping as many of the good points as possible. It’s a common practice among web people to simply attack traditional media, but truth be told, there is still room for both.

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Classification of Blogs and Example of Blogging Communities

Blogging societies are people who have similar area of interest and discuss in a group or in this case a blog. Ways to create a blogging society is by using hyperlinks, forums, tag links, chat space and comment post. This will allow the viewers to be interactive with the blog they are reading and it will help increase the number of audience.  I stumbled upon the internet with these different media types for blogging:

  • vlog – is short video blog, is a term use to describe a blog that contains video clips. Examples of vlog are youtube.com and veoh.com.
  • linklog – is a blog that consist of other blogs’ URL and you can link to those blogs. Example of a linklog is Lisanova.
  • sketchlog – is a blog that consists of images, especially sketches and other drawings. Example of a sketchlog is rob-sheridan.
  • tumblelog – is a short and concise blog that provides little or sometimes no commentary at all. Example of a tumblelog is projectionist.
  • photolog – is a blog that contains photos, where the photos is the primary element not the text. Example of a photolog is photoshack.
  • splog – is short for spam blog, it is actually a fake blog solely made to promote affiliated Web sites.
  • moblog – is short for mobile blogging. it is a blog where Mobile Phones acts as another device to publish blog entries. Example of a moblog is flickr.

Communities are about common interest (hence the term “community of interest“).  Blogs do not rely on the interests of a community for its existence. Rather, it is more about individual interests. However, since there are many blogs out there, there are bound to be many bloggers who share similar interests. This gave birth to the communities of shared interest amongst blogs. Members in a community — whether blogs or otherwise — stick together as long as those common interests and the connections between the people engage the community members remain strong.

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New Forms of Media Publishing

Turbulent change, high competition, new forms of production and distribution, and entirely new types of products have characterized the situation in the media industry over the past few decades. It has been noted that digitalization is strongly influencing the industry: it is changing the existing market dynamics and requires new strategies long-term survival of the newspaper, magazine and book industries.

The younger a person the more likely they are to have a hand held device. And let’s face it cell phones are much more than just phones now. And so long as platforms are available for ebooks, people are going to be putting them on their phone/laptop/Ipad/pda/dedicated e-reader. Reading is not going to go out of style, but to maximize profits I think that publishers/distributors/authors must move along with the technology. In a perfect world we’d all have a book store within walking distance – well we don’t have a perfect world; but a very nice alternative is a bookstore in everyone’s hand.

YouTube may become the most popular form of new media as it has come to define the era of online video, so let’s take a look at their most popular videos of all time. The latest update shows that Justin Bieber is still the only video over the 300 million views mark, after knocking Lady Gaga off the top spot in August. Bieber is adding over 1 million views every day!

Justin Bieber – Baby ft. Ludacris; 344,194,152 views

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Face Off : Print vs Online Media

The difficulties the traditional publishing industry is facing provides a great example of the on-going challenges that they face in the digital era. While publishing continues to worry about being undercut by cheaper offshore printing or ad-space price wars, digital media has been growing into the behemoth it is today. Print media is still trying to find a solution to their revenue problems caused by migration to digital media, and unfortunately most of the ideas are still coming from a framework based in their traditional understanding of the world. In essence, the ship has left the dock and they’re not on it.

An article on GigaOM — a well-respected online publication — titled “Too Many Magazine Apps Are Still Walled Gardens” highlights this point quite clearly:

…one thing is becoming clear: publishers mostly just want you to look at their content, and are hoping that you will forget all about the Internet and social media and all of those irritating things that get in between you and the consumption of their wonderful content.

To exacerbate the issue for the traditional media, digital media allows just about anyone to publish contents. Self-publishing itself is not a new phenomenon. Vanity presses have been around as long as the printing press itself and digital printing has only broadened the playing field. Online publisher such as Apple provide low-cost platforms for people to get their stories published. Anyone can get published. It’s finding an audience that’s hard. It has taken a bit longer for traditional publishers to get on board. And when they’ve ventured into self-published waters, the results have been mixed.

Many marketers are pushing their customers toward electronic statements, e-newsletters, bills, and transactional statements as a “green” move, but in reality, it has more to do with economics. It’s cheaper for businesses to send electronic communications than print. But while pushing e-communications as greener, has anyone bothered to ask what customers how they feel about it?

InfoPrint conducted a a survey that found three out of four respondents would consider opting for traditional mail delivery if they were informed it had less of a negative environmental impact than email.

In addition, 50% of consumers indicated that they still prefer to receive marketing information about new products or services via traditional mail rather than email. Only 44% would rather receive marketing via email.

Do preferences convert into action? Yes! Not only do customers prefer print mail, but they are more likely to open it, even if both communications come from a bank.

  • The survey found that, while 71% of respondents “always” open email containing a monthly bill, this jumped to 92% of consumers who received statements by mail.
  • Likewise, while 60% “always” open an email containing a bank statement, this jumps to 83% when the bank statement comes in the mail.

So if you’re looking to save money, by all means stick with the “moves it all to e-media” strategy. But if you’re looking to be more effective, don’t drop your print.

In fact, the more you learn about the green nature of the printing industry and the more you can promote green print to your customers, the more you’ll get the double bang for your dollars. They want print and they want to be green. So promote that print is green and you’ll be giving customers what they want and making them feel good about it, too.

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Reflection or Refraction

A phenomenon has taken place on the internet. This phenomenon is called blogging. Blogging is nothing more the journal of people published on the internet. The interesting thing is, other people around the world can share in this journal with you. Another interesting thing that some might not have observed, is the resemblance of a blog site to a personal diary; a hiding place.

There are so many things one could do with the relatively new medium of blogs. They can be almost anything a person wants: a journal, a compilation of links, a scrapbook of information, or even a discussion board and in my case, an assignment. The only definition I’ve seen that can encompass it is that they are postings in reverse chronological order.

Blogs are part of the current “Web 2.0” Internet craze, but do they serve a purpose? In the early years of the Web 2.0’s paradigm (right after the dot-com bubble), experienced web developers, who knew web programming technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, kept blogs to keep track of their mind’s wanderings. They are like a “Captain’s Log” on the Starship Enterprise on the quest of discovery.

Average internet users were left out. But not for long. Once the phenomenon caught on, blogging platforms started to appear. These platforms allow users without technical knowledge of web programming technologies to create and maintain their own blogs. Sites like wordpress.com and blogger.com have taken the work with web languages out of blogging, opening it up to the general public.

This new found accessibility triggered an explosion of blog sites on the internet. People started referring to blog authors as “bloggers”. For the average Internet surfer, blog sites help them weed out sites worth viewing from the rest, among other things.

In the past few years, blogging has evolved into what some term as “Blogging 2.0”. This refers to blogs that break free from the traditional blogging platform and reach out to their audience through multiple social media platforms. As Duncan Riley stated in The Inquisitr on Blogging 2.0 and Professional Blogging:

The reality is that Web 2.0 is finally catching up to blogging. The walled gardens of singular blogs are making way to social interaction across multiple platforms.”

Social media platforms such as Facebook, make it even easier for people to share their thoughts with others. However, these so-called “new age blogs” are sometimes seen as “vain self publishing” by experienced bloggers. I can see their point, as many inexperienced bloggers seem to ramble on about themselves as if they are to be praised.

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