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6.1.2. Do newspapers and new media have a future in the Swiss market?

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There are two scenarios that are plausible when trying to answer that question. These two possibilities will be discussed in this section and then the one that is most likely to happen in Switzerland will be analyzed a bit further. These two pictures are a look ahead in 2025.

The first scenario begins with the fact that the economy never really resumes growing. The growth rate stays low after the crisis of 2008. The consequence of that state is that advertising investments stay low as well. Enterprises do not have a lot of money to invest and therefore prefer to allocate low advertising budgets. The traditional media have been weakened a lot by that. This is not the only problem for the traditional media. They are declining because of the new consumption methods as well that have spread largely. The behaviors of the digital natives are now generalized. Traditional media are now neglected and there is a rise in the consumption of catch-up TV and other contents in mobility situations. The reading on paper has been given up as well, people preferring to read on electronic devices.

The fast growing technology accelerates even more that process, people consume information only when they want to and wherever they want. Contents are now overabundant and have lost almost all of their value. Value is created on the conversations that these contents can generate. In this environment almost only new media has access to the resources of advertising. Contents aggregators like syndication feed have replaced the editorial work of the journalists. The traditional press has almost entirely vanished. It has only survived on the Internet with the help of sponsors and of the government. This is how the media landscape looks like in 2025 according to the first scenario.

In the second scenario the economic situation after the crisis gets better and the growth picks up once again. Because of that the advertising market gets better as well and that helps the traditional media. There are two different ways to consume media in 2025. The new generation of the 15-25 years old is permanently connected to the Internet with its tablet, phone or computer. They consume wherever and whenever the information that is produced by the new media platforms. The first digital natives on the other hand have changed their consumption mode. They like to watch television and read their newspaper on paper format. Those changes are due in large part because of the changes in their professional and family lives. The technology that has changed in the last years was not enough to make traditional media disappear. In this scenario contents remain the principal value source for the media. The press groups have undergone a large restructuring. That has led to a development of the numeric offer. The journalistic expertise is still an important asset and it gives value to the media. The print version of newspapers still exists but now they are more of a derived product of the Internet offer, the contrary as in 2010. The traditional media was able to survive even with all these new kinds of media that have been created.

These are two scenarios that are completely opposite. It seems that the decisive factor for both is the role of the economy. It will be in large part but other factors will come in play. In Switzerland it will probably be the second scenario that prevails. The first argument is that newspapers are very strong in Switzerland in both their contents and in the share of the advertising.

They are losing readers every year a little more but overall they remain a major actor of the Swiss media landscape. Another factor in these changes ahead is how people in Switzerland will accept new media devices like the electronic tablets. Those tablets can be really helpful for newspapers in the future, because the contents can be presented the same way as in its print form but no costs of printing and shipping. In the second scenario newspapers are mainly on electronic devices and that could very easily be the case if those tablets really become a must have, like mobile phones have become a few years ago. For editors the challenge will be to keep costumers even with changes of format.

To sum up the future situation in Switzerland it can be said that newspapers on their print form will still exist and be a part of the media landscape. The question is to know whether the print version will still be the main platform or if electronics tablets will have taken over that role. That will be determined by commercial criteria, because technology will continue to develop in the next years. The public will then decide what it prefers. To answer the question, new media and newspapers absolutely can work together in the future in Switzerland.

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