Report: Should newspapers go digital-only?



An announcement made late last week by Evgeny Lebedev could be start of a revolutionary move in the print media space after it confirmed plans to axe print editions of Independent and Independent on Sunday.

The final editions of both papers will be published at the end of March, would could signal the start of the end for many publications. It is believed Amol Rajan, the editor of the Independent said it was not economically viable to keep running the print operation after 30 years. It will now focus on enhancing its digital platform with some of the 150 staff members remaining at the organisation and others being told to leave.

Lebedev told Media Guardian, ���The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers. They�۪re showing us that the future is digital. This decision preserves the Independent brand and allows us to continue to invest in the high quality editorial content that is attracting more and more readers to our online platforms.�۝

With the uptake in digital newspapers increasing and demand for print editions declining, where does that leave UK Asian publications? The UK publication industry consists of Asian Media Group (AMG), the parent company of Eastern Eye, Garavi Gujarat and Asian Trader, plus Asian Express, Asian Lite and Asian Image. An industry spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous told, “A lot of these publications go into print 3-4 days after stories have been written, which not only means that stories go stale but also online publications have already picked up on these stories. These days, social networking sites are key to connect with the second generation but some of these publications are struggling with even that. The UK Asian print publication needs to quickly re-evaluate its outlook.” caught up with handful of other leading executives to find out their thoughts on Asian newspapers going the digital way.

Javed Husain, Director
Media Reach Advertising

It’s time that all media who are suffering low readership to look at re-positioning their narrative. To communicate or address the needs of the millennium generation or even the 2nd generation, digital is the way forward. The majority of ethnic audience is spending time on their mobile and tablets. Media needs to invest in good content and quality journalism to get people to read or view.

Anjna Raheja, Director
Media Moguls

I think that in the long term digital will be the way forward but whether print or digital, the success and future of Asian publications relies not only on quality of content and relevance of that content to target audiences (existing and new) but on growing their readership through investment in marketing. The challenge that has always faced Asian media (the major TV channels have now understood this and are advertising heavily outside of their own platform) is that they really don�۪t advertise their products and look at growing their reader/subscriber bases. Publications are going to seriously have to look at digital marketing, social media and other platforms like TV and radio if they want to survive, garner new audiences and re-secure a place for themselves in the media that audiences are consuming and also that potential advertisers are tapping in to.

Manish Tiwari, Director
Here & Now 365

I feel Asian publications like Guj Samachar and Garvi Gujarat are primarily catering to elderly audience which still feel comfortable with print. Also India still wakes up to newspapers delivered in households and hence, South Asians still have a lot of reverence for printed paper. Of course, the second generation is digitally engaged and newspapers targeted at 2nd generation like Eastern Eye need to create a stronger digital footprint. The conundrum is in creating strong business in digital space for niche publications which can be a challenge.

Pedro Carvalho, Director

It’s essential that Asian publications should look at pushing more instant content onto their digital platform which should lead to a bigger audience. Any Asian publication which doesn’t look at eventually becoming a digital only outlet is not looking at its future and survival. The only press that may have any chance of survival on paper format will be those that are either subscribed too or free and even this will come to an end! attempted to contact AMG for a quote but did not receive a response at the time of publishing this report.

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