Media Turmoil Hits Canada

A Thing of the Past?

A Thing of the Past?

The US media industry has been taking a bath for months. And now the downturn seems to have hit Canadian media companies head on. A quick look at today’s Media News on Canoe shows that:

1)      22% of internet users have stopped buying newspapers

2)      The  National Post will stop production of their paper on Mondays this summer

3)      Rogers Communications quarterly profit has dropped

4)      CTV is warning about the end of broadcasting

5)      And a whole whack of news from US media including financial troubles for the Washington Post and Clear Channel will lay off 590 people.

And that’s just today’s news.

Media watchers the world over have their own thoughts on all of this.

Some of my thoughts, in broad strokes:

A)     The decline of newspapers shouldn’t be a surprise. Young people simply aren’t buying papers. A highly celebrated young journalist at the Globe confided to me the other day that even he never reads the hard-copy paper—he just reads it online. The fact he felt he had to confide this in me speaks volumes. The newspaper industry doesn’t want to believe things are changing. They need to wake up to it. The recession is only accelerating the inevitable.

B)      The trouble for broadcasters shouldn’t be a surprise either. Who the hell watches 99% of what’s on TV? Not many brokentvpeople. And with the DVR (or PRV), downloadable shows, the birth of hulu.com and other websites the path seems clear—only quality broadcasting will survive in the  long run. Fewer and fewer people will just sit down and watch whatever is the least-worst show on TV. And traditional TV advertising formats will have to eventually die.

C)      Traditional ‘journalists’ like to decry the birth of citizen journalists. Don’t. Citizen journalists should and will play a bigger role. But there will always be a place for professional, fact-checked news. Maybe a smaller audience, but decision makers and opinion leaders will always demand quality sources of news—and will be willing to pay for it. The Economist isn’t struggling for a reason.

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