A futurist's advice: Newspapers will need to apply existing capabilities in new ways
According to the predictions of futurist Ross Dawson, we can be guaranteed newspaper jobs in the UAE until at least 2030. He has created a map to serve as a timeline of the eventual demise of print media worldwide. The map indicates newspapers will be “insignificant” in 52 countries by 2040; in USA the date is near 2017, it’s 2019 for England, 2034 for Saudi Arabia and 2040 for India.
In a exclusive interview, Ross answered five questions:
In contrast with America, Middle East and Asia newspapers are still doing good business. What’s your opinion about the future for newspapers in these regions?
As suggested in my Newspaper Extinction Timeline, there is a wide divergence in the success of newspapers around the world. In many countries, newspaper circulation and revenue are increasing. In time, the same forces that are making newspapers struggle in countries such as the US and UK will apply, but these challenges could be many years away.
Do you think there a way to revitalise newspapers and save them from extinction?
The future of the global economy will be largely centred on media in the broadest sense. The media organisations of today, such as newspapers, are well positioned to take advantage of that, in creating and editing content, and tapping large audiences. The challenge will be to take existing capabilities and apply them in new ways. The path forward for every newspaper will be different.
Do you still read newspapers? If so which ones rate as favourites?
I never buy newspapers, and only read them if they are in an airport lounge, coffee shop, or hotel. However if they are around, I enjoy reading many papers, such as New York Times, Financial Times, or Le Monde.
What is your advice for newspapers in regions like the Middle East and Asia where print media are still strong?
Many newspapers are threatened today because they didn’t fundamentally change their business even when the writing was on the wall years ago. Those newspapers in parts of the world where the industry is doing better will in turn hit the wall and collapse in time if they don’t start changing today. The imperative is to build new channels, reposition, and shift for the reality of a changing world.
What comes next? After the internet and social networking, is there anything more to be discovered in the media world?
Some of the emerging trends in media are reputation measures for media organisations and individual journalists, the social curation of news to give insights that are uniquely relevant to us, building new transaction-based revenue models, and media becoming a real hub for communities in a way that we still rarely see today. Media will dominate the economy, and in many ways be barely recognisable from the industry we see today.