Nov 20 2008

Banking crisis ‘speeds up’ decline of print

Published by at 10:06 am under Opinion,Top Stories

The nice thing about capitalism and free markets, is that it has a “built-in rectifier”. When the system tips over, the “rectifier” automatically kicks in and works in the background to bring the whole system back on an even keel, or back in balance**.

That’s what the system of the old USSR didn’t have (rectifying was done manually) and that was what brought it to its knees in the end.

Anyone reading business newspapers these days, sees the “automatic, in-built rectifier” at work all over – in all countries and sectors. Everywhere companies are using the crisis to restructure and “rebuild”, laying staff off here, employing there, selling these divisions off and buying those new ones. Renewal is hard at work. 

The sector in which I work, the media sector, is no exception. Media companies are restructuring, laying off, opening up at a helluva pace. (Read, for instance, here.) Observation number one: This time around, it seems as if journalists are not the main target for lay-offs, but rather admin people, technical people and marketing/sales staff. Why that is so, may have something to do with my second observation. 

Observation number two: The pace at which print is being swopped for the internet has increased markedly since the outbreak of the financial crisis (in the last few weeks). But, already one can see the internet will be one of the “winners” of the crisis: When the dust settles and the financial and economic crisis is behind us, we’ll note the internet standing much stronger vis-a-vis the printed product than it did just shortly before. 

Every now and then one reads about a media company which had decided to stop printing a newspaper or magazine and to ONLY continue with it online. The death of a printed product is then often accompanied by an increased online effort (so that all, or most journalists are still needed). I expect to read a lot more of this kind of “rectifying” in coming months. 

Do I think this is a bad thing (that print is dying)? Not at all. On the contrary. Long live the “rectifier”!

 ** If I remember correctly, it was Adam Smith who first came up with this idea.

One response so far

One Response to “Banking crisis ‘speeds up’ decline of print”

  1. adminon 25 Nov 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Fuel for my “gut feel” was offered today in an article in FAZ. net, a German newspaper site, which stated online was making headway against print faster than anticipated until now.


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