I read this morning that Media Week magazine is closing. Media Week used to be one of about half a dozen trade magazines that were delivered to Levy McCallum 5 or 6 years ago, I think today we get one and I’m not sure we pay for it either.
The report of Media Week’s demise I read suggested that it is going to become an exclusively online publication, I assume they mean that the content can be accessed online only rather than it will be exclusively about online subjects. I suppose I’m struck by the massive problem facing the newspaper and magazine industry when the trade publication aimed at the very people who help fill the pages of print media, those with a vested interest in it, those who need to know the inside track on the industry and are genuinely curious about its direction, characters and innovations; can’t find a readership. Now certainly the media industry would fall into the ‘early adopters’ category, so they will have been accessing the information and content they want online for a while now. Viewed from that prospective it makes some sense that Media Week should decide its future lies in that direction. Undoubtedly though where the media industry lead others will follow and it shouldn’t be, long before we see mainstream newspapers considering this option I’d have thought.
I’m in Belfast just now and this was brought up at a meeting last night. We can all speculate and air educated guesses as to the future of print media but at this juncture that’s all they are. But as the pressure grows, and in recent weeks we’ve seen sizeable changes at the Independent and the Observer, and locally some big restructuring at the Scotsman, Herald, Daily Record and the S&UN titles, the need to answer this question accurately grows. One thing I’d point out though, the wireless reception in my hotel is terrible, the signal is weak, cuts out frequently and I’ve been charged a tenner for the privilege too. My media consumption has been restricted to my monthly copy of When Saturday Comes and a Times I bought at the airport. It is in the long term interests of the newspapers that people can actually access their products online, I’m in the centre of a major UK city after all, I’d expect a choice of a dozen papers and many more magazines in any of the newsagents on the street down below.
They might at this time seem unlikely cheerleaders for increased internet access but it might just be the best strategy the press could take.