The future of journalism is digital. The classic media are in a state of upheaval: old marketing models are becoming obsolete, new formulas, formats and platforms are emerging, and algorithms are increasingly responsible for determining media consumer behavior. What does the future of journalism look like?
Online is the new print
The U.S.-based online news publication the Huffington Post was committed to the Internet from the start. It was designed specifically to be a purely online publication. The German version, in cooperation with Focus magazine, attracts more than four million visitors each month with a format based on modern technology but with the layout of a traditional newspaper.
On the hunt for new sources of income
Quality journalism requires income. To enable them to hold their ground online in spite of falling print circulation, increasing numbers of newspapers in Germany are going the route of paid content. The British Financial Times is held up as a model of success in this regard; the newspaper's online articles are only available to paying readers. In Germany, the publications Handelsblatt and Spiegel have opted for freely accessible standard content that is complemented by premium content behind a paywall. The taz newspaper suggests that readers of its website make a voluntary donation. As a representative survey on behalf of Bitkom has recently revealed, the willingness to pay for online content increases. In the past twelve months, 36 percent of the internet users have paid for editorial content on the web. Expenses on individual articles but also on monthly packages are accepted by approximately 20 percent of the online readers. Nevertheless, publishers only partially use billing models. According to Bitkom, companies mainly value digital advertising as increasingly important source of revenue instead (77 percent).
Online formats hope to protect the newspaper from extinction
Those interested can monitor the decline in newspapers in the United States at newspaperdeathwatch.com. At the same time, media expert Mitchell Stevens' blog chronicles the new, digital paths forged by media companies. Previously traditional print publications are increasingly producing online issues with the aim of retaining their readership. The Bitkom survey results show that a quarter of the media companies already provides digital e-papers. Even the Christian Scientist Monitor, with a large proportion of readers over the age of 60, launched its online presence in 2008, taking its readers into a new era. 85 percent of them responded positively to the move.
Instant articles on social networks
As one of the most-used websites in the world, Facebook is also increasingly gaining importance as a news channel. Alongside links to articles, editorial content from the New York Times and Buzzfeed, the BBC, the Guardian, Spiegel and Bild will in the future be provided directly in the social network. This aims to allow readers to load articles several times more quickly. Media companies hope that the cooperation will increase their scope of distribution and their marketing potential.