Thursday, October 12, 2006

State of the Oz print media report

It's report time. The third State of the News Media 2006 report has been published and lo and behold the US version has prompted an Australian one.

The Australian Press Council has just released The State of the News Print Media in Australia Report 2006.

It's about time we had a local study. It would have been nice, though, if they'd delivered it as a complete PDF file rather than just via some very rough html.

Anyway, despite some of the doomsayers, it's a surprisingly upbeat, albeit fairly thin, report:

"Terminal decline is not a description that is warranted for the Australian press, certainly not yet, given the innovative and vigorous response of newspapers to the challenges they are encountering. But the juggernaut of change is challenging everybody in the print part of the news industry."

And that's, understandably, where today's reports have taken the story. The Oz concludes that "newspapers do have a future, despite the rise - and rise - of the internet as an information source".

And some rise it is. Look at the year-on-year growth rates for the main news sites:


I can't help but think there's a lot of wishful thinking going on in this report. The authors are by and large working editors, with a couple of academics thrown in for good measure. There's nothing specifically wrong with that, but I just don't get the impression they are the best available sources for some of the analysis - particularly around the question of new media and the challenges it presents.

Elsewhere, Australian media organisations are conducting their own investigations into the road ahead.

Mark Day writes about a recent ABC session on the "digital future" and decides that "Just as TV did not kill cinema despite the dire predictions, the internet threat to newspapers is based more on its capacity to leach away advertising revenues than drawing away readers."

Well, that's a helluva capacity.

But it's not all. In the same article Day says he has been "talking to a bunch of newspaper editors about something they universally admit they don't yet fully understand: their websites."

And there lies the biggest problem for newspapers.

1 comment:

Cameron Reilly said...

Geez Hugh, are these guys smoking crack? Or just plain ol nitrate? Check out this graph from the report:
http://www.presscouncil.org.au/snpma/images/figure_big.gif
How in HELL can they pitch this as not being in decline? Grab a ruler and extend the line from 1999 - 2005 . It becomes ZERO CIRCULATION about 2015.

cheers
Cameron Reilly
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