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.
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.