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1 Comments Changing Industries in a Digital Age

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 13 Dec 2012 in Technology/Social Media

Who doesn’t like swag?  Everyone likes a goodie bag full of free stuff.  Personally?  I won’t jump up and down like a moron to get a free t-shirt at a sporting event but if it happens to land in my lap I’m taking it.  It might come in handy when I wash the car.  No wait, I haven’t physically washed my car in years.  Okay, I’m not sure what I’ll use it for but it’s going home with me because it’s free and now it’s mine.  But what happens when you get used to getting something for free and then all of a sudden you’re asked to pay for it?  That’s exactly what’s happening to the newspaper industry in Canada.

For years now I’ve been reading newspapers online.  There was a time not too long ago when I would get up every Saturday and Sunday morning, head down to local café for a latte and pick up two newspapers.  I head back home, crawl back into bed and read both papers while sipping on my overpriced cup of java.  Then once a month I would take the stack of newspapers that had piled up out for recycling; same routine for years, winter, spring, summer and fall.  Then one day it all changed, it was day I got my first iPad.   Without realizing it I stopped going out for latte’s and newspapers.  A cappuccino maker made its way into our home, and at my fingertips was all this information, newspapers from around the world.  The experience is so much better and it’s free.  It’s so easy; I no longer wait for weekends to get my fix of free news.  On the train, in the car (not while driving), while watching TV or any other conceivable moment of free time. You’re hooked, and then one day when you visit one of your favorite newspapers sites a message appears, “You have now read five of twenty free articles…Click here to subscribe”.  What the hell? They want money?  That’s preposterous!

Of course it’s not preposterous.  No one works for free and one has an expectation that efforts should be rewarded.  Why would it be any different for the newspaper industry?  The digital age has had profound impact on the newspaper industry.  Advertising dollars are shrinking, which means that less people are subscribing to newspapers.  How does the newspaper industry survive?  What do they do?  Is it simply transferring the words from paper to print and saying we want to earn the same revenues?  I’m not sure.  Recently a number of newspapers in Canada have introduced an online subscription fee.  Will it work?  I haven’t received the message on my screen from The Globe, Financial Post or Toronto Sun that says, “Sorry Bozic, the free ride is over”.  But when I do, what will I do?  I remember a while ago I tried to read the New York Times and Post online.  They wanted money, so I moved on.  I just went back to their sites, after being warned by Canadian newspapers that free wasn’t doable anymore, and much to my surprise they weren’t asking for money anymore.  Did it not work for them?  Did less eyeballs result in less online advertising?  Don’t know and I didn’t give it a lot of thought.  Maybe I should but I’m a byproduct of the new digital reality.  I have different expectations today, especially when it comes to information.  Most people get their news today from non-traditional news outlets, and maybe it’s hurting some industries, but it’s a fact.  If a few publications shut me out because I’m not paying, there are millions of other sources that I can access simply because I want too.  I can’t even imagine what it’s like to try to compete in that world.

In no shape or form am I saying that newspapers are wrong for attempting to earn revenue for their on-line efforts.  A strong and vibrant press is an important staple of our society.  Good journalism keeps institutions and individuals honest.  Maybe I should pay the subscription fee to ensure that fifth estate remains viable.  My subscription can make a small contribution in that regard.  It is one thing to rationalize it and altogether different when your wallet sets your course.  I can’t help but wonder if the fate of the newspaper industry will be no different than our local hardware store.   Remember them? That’s right…they’re no more.

Until next time,



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I think its inevitable that they will disappear, I haven’t bought one in years and advertising in them just isn’t cost effective any more. My computer opens up to the every morning so I know what europe was up to while I slept and if I want live info on markets I’ll go to BNN.

Glad you clariified about washing your car, I haven’t done that by myself in years either.


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