Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

More people getting news online

Mark Fletcher
December 26th, 2008 · 12 Comments

Dan Farber, writing at, says print is fading thanks to competition to online.  He quotes the latest Pew study which shows that 40% of people in the United States surveyed get their news online compared to 24% a year earlier. 

Michelle Meyers, also writing at, writes about the Pew study and includes data showing that the Internet has taken over newspapers as the primary news source.

Now take a look at ten way Edward Roussel suggests newspaper organisations make the transition to digital.  I like point ten – Experiment.  This applies equally to newsagents. 

Smart newsagents will experiment individually and through marketing groups. 


Category: Media disruption · Newsagency challenges

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael // Dec 27, 2008 at 8:19 AM

    I’d like to throw a spanner in the works here. Wasn’t there going to be no radio after the intoduction of the television?

    I think newspaper circulation will decline but not become extinct. There are plenty of places and situations where print tops online – such as on a plane.

    Reading between the lines it looks like some of the people writing about the doom and gloom of it are scare mongering.


  • 2 Jarryd Moore // Dec 27, 2008 at 1:33 PM


    The comparison between radio and television isn’t the same. Radio is very different from what is oince was. It now serves a purpose different to that of television. It wasn’t always music and talkback.

    It is far more difficult to change the purpose of print. Doing so is only going to prolong it’s death.

    I can’t think of any place where print tops online. Technology is already being trialed/developed for allowing internet access on planes.


  • 3 Michael // Dec 27, 2008 at 4:23 PM

    Jarryd, It’s not the same, but it’s similar in the way of having an old medium like radio/newspapers recieving competiton from the newer, improved TV/internet. I believe Tarzan made the transition from one to the other, just like magazines to online.

    Print tops online in various scenarios, workers pick up a paper on the way to work because of no internet access on site, in the factory, on the farm, on the road.

    The future will be interesting, but we don’t need boffins making strong adverse comments that can influence the average Joe. Just wait and see I say.


  • 4 Derek // Dec 27, 2008 at 5:16 PM

    What a interesting debate this could be and so far all points seem to be right.

    Mark is right, Belonging to a marketing group gives Newsagent specialists the best chance of coming through the other side of this media crossroad, experimentation is a great idea. (belonging to some marketing groups gives you such a headstart in this area).

    Jarryd’s in my view is correct also, he knows its coming, he is embracing it and he’s passionate in his opinions, Jarryd does not talk about the grey area which is we are not their yet, I am sure we will be within 10 years. Being part of some Marketing groups provide for planning for the Newsagency of the future.

    Michaels comments are valid, not everyone has access to gizmo’s or will embrace them. I do not know how these people such as blue collar workers, computer illiterate people and myself at times will be serviced in the future, I would hope they will be however it all comes down to dollars. I do agree that print will not drive people to Newsagents in the future as it will be primarily sourced from Gizmo’s.

    If Newsagents did nothing about it for he next ten years and just keep going as they are, will they be able to absorb this change when it happens?


  • 5 Mark // Dec 27, 2008 at 5:23 PM

    Derek, an excellent post.

    If newsagents do nothing for the next five years their businesses will be in rapid decline. In ten years they will be gone.

    This is why we have to embrace change. Urgently.


  • 6 Michael // Dec 27, 2008 at 5:56 PM

    So what do we do? The technology of tomorrow isn’t here yet and is undefined. When is it going to happen?

    I’m not too scared about it personally, but excited and interested in how we can incorporate this change into our shops.


  • 7 Mark // Dec 28, 2008 at 10:35 AM

    Michael, We take responsibility for our own businesses, decide what we stand for, embrace change and enjoy ourselves.



  • 8 John // Dec 28, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    Michael, what do you do? Keep your eyes and ears open. Experiment, innovate and be ready to take advantage of opportunities. There is no one magic fix that newsagents can performs to usher them into a new golden era.


  • 9 Jarryd Moore // Dec 28, 2008 at 5:33 PM


    My point is that, with the development of the NextG network and the expansion of rival networks ,there is internet access just about everywhere.

    “When is it going to happen?” … it already is. The technology is in a nuber of different stages. Consumers are trying new tehnology offered by devices such as the iPhone and determining what they like and what the don’t – its a trial and error period. New technolgoy is always in development and always will be. Online media will change and adapt to suit it in the future as needed.

    This kind of shift isn’t a structured change that has a timeline with a clear start and end. It is continous and impossible to fully determine how and when it will happen – its more ‘organic’.

    Newsagents need to, like John has said, experiment and innovate. Approach the issue as if it could happen tomorrow – be ahead of the game. In ten years the newsagents of today might not even sell ‘news’.


  • 10 Michael // Dec 29, 2008 at 8:05 AM

    Mark, John, I agree. Jarryd, I agree with you more, it’s happening now.

    My arguement is with these boffins that are predicting “this and that” with our channel. I’d rather wait and see, leave the predicting to Nostradamus.

    I personally see print lasting at least one more generation.


  • 11 Brendan // Dec 29, 2008 at 9:19 AM

    It is interesting to note Jarryds’ point that newsagents may not even sell news in the future.

    Print will not totally dissappear as the touch feely thing of picking up a paper, book or magazine cannot be replaced by technology. However, this does not mean that printed news will remain profitable and will probably get dearer as circulations decrease further reducing its appeal.

    Perhaps we need to consider other agency type business (in an innovated way, not just copying Aust Post), something out of the square and do so either as an industry or through marketing groups.
    Or, maybe we just need to become stronger retailers without rely on agency transactions for traffic.

    As a subby we already treat news papers as a loss leader and rely less and less on them as core income. We are trying to develope other areas of the business that are far more profitable.

    I am joining a marketing group to improve my business in preparation for the changing environment.

    Perhaps in the future we will no longer be called ‘newsagents’ in favour a name that better describes our core business in the retail market.


  • 12 John // Dec 29, 2008 at 11:17 PM

    “Print will not totally dissappear as the touch feely thing of picking up a paper, book or magazine cannot be replaced by technology.”

    I think you should have said, “has not yet been replaced by technology”. Paper is a technology as well, a very old one that has stood the test of time. How long it survives as the primary distribution medium for news is another story.


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