Today’s Media & Marketing section of the Gulf News, the largest English-speaking newspaper in the region, published our Newspaper Extinction Timeline and a brief interview with me, which is below in the print version, and also in text at the bottom of the post. In the interview I emphasise the opportunities on the other side of the challenges for those that can meet them.
The latest figures I have seen for Gulf News show audited circulation up 34% in the 3 years to March 2009. The date for U.A.E. in my timeline is 2030, which reflects issues including the affluence of the country, pronounced wealth polarization, good urban bandwidth, strong urbanisation, and absolute size of the economy.
Gulf News: Exclusive Interview with Ross Dawson
1. Different from America, Middle East and Asia newspaper are still a good business. What’s your opinion about the future for newspapers in these regions?
As suggested in my Newspaper Extinction Timeline, there is a wide divergence in the success of newspapers around the world. In many countries newspaper circulation and revenue are increasing. In time, the same forces that are making newspapers struggle in countries such as the US and UK will apply, but these challenges could be many years away.
2. In your opinion is there one way to revitalize newspapers and save from the extinction?
The future of the global economy will be largely centered on media in the broadest sense. The media organizations of today, such as newspapers, are well positioned to take advantage of that, in creating and editing content, and tapping large audiences. The challenge will be to take existing capabilities and apply them in new ways. The path forward for every newspaper will be different.
3. Do you still read print newspapers? What newspapers do you like to read?
I never buy newspapers, and only read them if they are in an airport lounge, coffee shop, or hotel. However if they are around, I enjoy reading many papers, such as New York Times, Financial Times, or Le Monde.
4. What is your advice for newspapers in region like Middle East and Asia where the print edition is still strong?
Many newspapers are threatened today because they didn’t fundamentally change their business even when the writing was on the wall years ago. Those newspapers in parts of the world where the industry is doing better will in turn hit the wall and collapse in time if they don’t start changing today. The imperative is to build new channels, reposition, and shift for the reality of a changing world.
5. What’s come next? After the Internet, Social Network is there anything more to be discovered in the Media World?
Some of the emerging trends in media are reputation measures for media organizations and individual journalists, the social curation of news to give insights that are uniquely relevant to us, building new transaction-based revenue models, and media becoming a real hub for communities in a way that we still rarely see today. Media will dominate the economy, and in many ways be barely recognizable from the industry we see today.