A study from Deloitte last week entitled “Readers abandon print for digital platforms but it’s a slow revolution’ really caught my attention.
Excerpt from the article:
— Print plummets: 39 percent of newspaper reading respondents said print was their favorite format for reading their chosen titles, down massively from 75 percent just a year ago. It’s difficult not to make a connection between that fall and the rapid adoption of tablet PCs over the same period.
— But digital soars: Laptops and desktops still account for most news consumption online, but mobile is gaining. Of smartphone users, 32 percent say they use their device to read news articles every day or at least once a week, and that figure rises to more than half for tablet owners.’
I’ve been receiving three physical newspapers for many years now. When I ride the commuter train to New York City I am in the minority of people who read a physical paper. The usefulness of my long ago learned skill on how to fold the New York Times or Wall Street Journal so that I can read it without disturbing the person next to me is only useful to the unlucky passenger who sits next to me. It’s obvious that most of the passengers read news on their tablets or phone.
What I’ve found when I read the news on my tablet (Kindle Fire or iPad) or phone is that it’s easy and I like it. In fact I even tend to read articles in a different order than when I page through a newspaper. The digital news reading experience is improving all the time and I never have to worry about the lights going on or off on the train ride or struggle reading because there is not quite enough light.
So I’m ready to give up printed newspapers – mostly. I still enjoy the weekend edition of the New York Times – the Sunday Times Magazine with the crossword puzzle is one of my favorite guilty pleasures as is the NY Times Book Review. What is the most likely compromise (my wife is resisting the change even more than I have) is that we will go digital for all but a weekender NY Times subscription. My expectation is that we will quickly adapt to digital reading on an everyday basis and for a while enjoy the printed NY Times on the weekend. For a while means that eventually we probably will be willing to give up the printed versions entirely once a digital means to do the crossword puzzle is made more user-friendly.
Will I miss the printed newspaper? Well I won’t miss the residual ink on my fingers. But chances are is that I, like many other people of a certain age will play the ‘remember when’ game once printed newspapers become extinct. And the ultimate extinction of newspapers is really the only outcome isn’t it?
How about you? Have you given up printed newspapers or will you hold on as long as you can?