Wanna know the future of news, or media in general? then get yourself in front of Jeff Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future. He knows it all!
Jeff Cole founded and directs the World Internet Project, a long-term longitudinal look at the effects of computer and Internet technology, which started 12 years ago and is conducted in over 25 countries. The World Internet Project is the leading international project examining the ways in which our social, economic and media lives are changing
The insights from the research are brilliant at using historical data to have a stab at predicting the future. Jeff doesn’t want to be seen as the prophet of the death so when asked if newspapers are going to die, the “between the lines answer” is: there will be less of them, a lot less often!
The research has proven that there is a clear correlation between Internet sage and Newspaper decline: When the internet penetration reaches 30%, newspaper readership starts falling… and we all the internet penetration rate in our western countries. Guess what’s going to happen in India , where it’s only at 10% but growing rapidly…
Around the world, every time a news reader dies, he/she is not being replaced by a new reader. Teens are interested in news. Yes they are… (if Jeff says they are, believe him, cause he’s pretty spot on in his predictions!) but what teens are not doing and never will do is get their news via a newspaper!
With that in mind Jeff thinks that within 4 or 5 years only be 4 or 5 newspapers will remain as thriving news editors in the USA. It doesn’t mean that newspapers are dead. Weekend papers will remain! They are like mini mags and will stay attractive
One of the reasons why Jeff ‘s research proves that there will be a role for newspapers, or, shall I say news organizations, in the future is that the proliferation of user-generated content actually creates craving for good professional & reliable content. The message seems clear to me that to stay in business news organizations must evolve the way they distribute this unique content and grow their digital business. The future of newspaper is in interactivity. Moving content from paper to screen might mean downs sizing for most newspaper companies but it does have several benefits for the media industry: cost saving/ environmentally friendly/ accessible anywhere.
A great example of medium moving to interactivity is Bjork’s Biophilia album based on iPhone & iPad experience… (hmmm, not such a fan of the music but her artistic approach is unique, progressive and fascinating;)
Now, the bad news doesn’t only apply to newspaper companies, if you are the CEO of a PC manufacturer, and you are not Tim Cook… you should worry about your business model (and read the innovator’s dilemna by Clayton Christensen). You have missed the opportunity to crack the tablet market
Tablet is iPad, other devices are not even on the map! As ironic as it might sound, the only brand which is catching up with the iPad is Apple itself! So for now, iPad means transformation. In a few years, Jeff might say that tablets are transformation but there is zero sign of it now.
So why should you worry if you are the CEO of a PC manufacturer, and you are not Tim Cook? Because Jeff’s research clearly identifies the iPad as replacing the 2nd screen, your PC! and not emerging as the 4th screen! Jeff predicts that only 4% to 6% of the population (the ones who write, big data cruncher, students and designers) will still use PCs in the future.
He said that a few years ago someone was willing to bet $50K to prove him wrong on some of his prediction… someone would have lost $50K by now!
You can watch his key note speech at Ad Tech San Francisco 2011 and get more details on his thoughts about the future of media:
Ps: anybody knows who that title quote is from?