Another print MSM outlet heading towards extinction

Two items caught my eye this morning. First, Newsweek announced they are going all digital, a new digital newsletter called Newsweek Global. Newsweek is throwing in the towel and is being absorbed into The Daily Beast—a liberal internet outlet. The last print edition of Newsweek will be the December 31, 2012, issue.

Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast. — The Daily Beast.

When I was in college living in a dorm, we were provided with discount subscriptions to a number of news magazines from Time, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and others at about 1/3rd of the usual rate. I subscribed to Time for several years. At that time, in the mid-1960s, network news on the TV was only 15 minutes in the evening, usually from 6:00pm to 6:15pm. The news expanded to a half-hour a few years later as the Vietnam war grew. Most of our national, political and world news came from those magazines.

Even at that time, we could see the political bias. Time Magazine was more conservative, the others more “liberal.” Over the years, Time became just another liberal media outlet.

I’ve called the print media, the dinosaur media for a number of reasons. First, they’ve failed to adapt to changing technology. Second, they’ve failed to adapt to the changing political environment—rather they acquired the idea they are the leaders of social and political evolution. Unfortunately for them, evolution takes its own path regardless of the intentions of the MSM.

The MSM has refused to acknowledge that their failure is not solely due to technology. Their failure is their refusal to acknowledge the changing political and social environment. The current generation is NOT that of the ’60s. The current generation is the child and the grandchild of the ’60s and they’ve seen, personally, all the failings of the ’60s generation—including their slavish devotion to Marxism and Socialism.  It is easy for the child to see the failures of the parent.

This new transition by Newsweek to an all-digital mode will end in failure as well. It retains the subscription model and will retain its leftist bias…two of the failings that killed the print version. Failure to learn and adapt is a powerful contributor to evolutionary extinction. It’s the content and management, not solely the media, that is leading Newsweek to join other print news outlets that have closed over the last decade.

The second example is from the UK. The Guardian and the Observer newspapers are about to abandon their print media outlets as well.

Guardian ‘seriously discussing’ end to print edition

The publisher of the Guardian and Observer newspapers is close to axing the print editions of the newspapers, despite the hopes of its editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger to keep them running for several years.

The Guardian and Observer publisher has spent the last few years battling to stem losses of £44m a year. However, it has been slow to make savings and any money that it has clawed back has been spent on expanding its US and online operations.

The drivers toward the extinction of the print paper in the UK includes those of the US media with some additions.  The unions and Britain’s welfare state has sucked the profits from the papers.  The move towards a digital-only media is an attempt to shed significant portions of the paper’s expensive union workforce. Whether that move will be sufficient is unknown at this time. The unions are more powerful in the UK than in the US and in many areas practically own the government.

The idea of content subscription for information is evolving. Some, like Rush Limbaugh’s newsletter, are successful because of their unique content. Limbaugh announced recently that his newsletter will be available digitally at a reduced price. I’m unsure if there will be reduced content. We will know when we compare the printed version next to the digital version.  I would suspect they will be the same. The difference in price will be due to the cost difference between the printed version and the digital version.

However, for most information, people do not need subscription to acquire information. Limbaugh and others like him, survive due to their unique content that is unavailable elsewhere. For the MSM, it’s different. For every subscription MSM news-outlet, there are ten or more free news-outlets with the same information.

I expect within a few years, Newsweek will join the other dinosaur media—like the Rocky Mountain News, et. al., into extinction.

1 thought on “Another print MSM outlet heading towards extinction

  1. Pingback: Friday Follies for October 19, 2012 |

Comments are closed.