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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - October 2018

Why Don't Print Readers Show Up In Digital?

Over the past two weeks, there has been a somewhat lively debate on 'media Twitter' centered around a graph from The Independent, illustrating what happened when they stopped publishing in print and instead focused entirely on digital.

As you can see below, when they stopped printing, the very valuable print audience seemed to simply evaporate with no noticeable uptick in digital. And because of this, this graph has become the example that everyone now points to when they want to illustrate that digital consumption is shallow and worthless, while print was awesome.

Well... in this 37-page article, I'm going to challenge the way you think about this. I'm going to illustrate what likely happened to all these print readers and where they went. I'm going to debunk this perceived value of a print audience. I'm going to challenge the way you think about Facebook's role in this.

But most of all, I'm going to show you what the real problem is. Because, while this graph looks bad, the real problem is even worse. And it's time that we did something about it.

We are not in Kansas anymore

The first thing we need to look at is the misconception that a digital audience don't spend any time on anything. This is largely not the case. In fact, people today spend far more time on media than ever before, but the way people spend this time is entirely different.

Let me illustrate this:

Let's take a standard day, like this: People sleep, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, have dinner, and spend the rest of the evening watching TV.

Now let's dramatically generalize how people consume media. So, in the print world, people would skim over the newspaper during breakfast, and they would also have another 'newspaper moment' after work, within the period before the evening's TV shows were to start.

 
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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé

 

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