Gagne de la cryptomonnaie GRATUITE en 5 clics et aide institut numérique à propager la connaissance universitaire >> CLIQUEZ ICI <<

7.1. Influence of new media on Swiss newspapers

Non classé

There has been undoubtedly influence of new media in Switzerland over newspapers. The challenge is to determine how big the role of the new media in the problems newspapers face is in 2010. Before assessing that problematic it must be reminded that there have been many factors that have had an influence on newspapers. For instance the free press has had a huge impact on subscription newspapers, mainly in the advertising market. But in this section only factors from new media and Internet are going to be discussed.

The first influence that can be cited is the format of newspapers. They have evolved drastically in the last century, in particular in the electronic age. The way people consume media has had a non negligible effect on the graphics and presentation of newspapers. A lot of them have become smaller so they fit the mobility of people who read them. In the last few years numerous newspapers have adopted the tabloid to try to quickly lift circulation. This was a direct influence from Internet because it was already creating problems for the press around 2005. Other important changes have been brought to the graphic side of newspapers. In 1995 the presentation of newspapers was very simple with fewer pictures than today. The text was written in simple columns. To sum up most newspapers offered a presentation that was not fancy at all. Now this has changed drastically. The large majority of newspapers have adopted a similar look to what can be found on an Internet page. It looks more interactive with text boxes, more pictures and many other features. This new look was adopted to compete with web sites as well as possible. This is a first aspect in which new media and Internet influenced the traditional press.

Before the new media arrived in Switzerland, newspapers had a lot more power in the media landscape.

When the Internet was at the beginning of its emergence, the total media revenues (revenues from advertising and contents) in Switzerland was lower than it is now. The newspapers had a much larger percentage of these total revenues in 1995 than nowadays. In 2010 newspapers still have the biggest percentage (28%) among media in Switzerland, but the margin has become very small: 26% for the television and 22% for IT/Telecom(57). Financially the power of newspapers has been reduced drastically and a large part of the explanation comes from the fact that new media in now strongly implemented in Switzerland. It must be noted that in Switzerland the situation is still more enviable for newspapers than in most of the other countries, where new media is already at least as dominant in comparison to the traditional press:


Figure 18 Analyzing the influence of new media on newspapers businesses in Switzerland, the role of the government and the future of both media

This graphic shows that in the United States the digital media has almost the same revenue as newspapers. Additionally it shows how revenues of newspapers are quickly dropping and revenues of digital media are growing instead. Their power was larger in the information business as well.

They were the primarily source of information and now for many people this is not the case anymore. Internet has become so accessible and relatively cheap that for a large part of the public it has become the only information channel necessary. All other media have become superfluous for that branch of the population. Related to that aspect of the shift of power are Internet websites of newspapers. A few years ago they were simply a showcase of the print version of the newspapers. Now the Internet page of the Swiss newspapers is an extension of the print and has become almost as important. No media had been able to influence newspapers like that since they exist.

One more influence of the new media on newspapers is the concept of the free contents. Once Internet has arrived on the media market, a lot of information was offered for free. This is still the case nowadays obviously. But this new model has forced newspapers to change their strategy. Now a lot of them offer content on their website free of charge. For some newspapers there are only quick news from agencies and other offer complete articles online that appear on the print version as well. The similarity is that the consumer can be informed on the newspapers websites without having to pay anything if he wants to. By doing this newspapers have cannibalized themselves. They offer a good that was once paid for and they did not replace that income with another source of revenue. That problem is a direct result of the influence of new media.

New media has influenced the costs of newspapers as well. When the Internet did not exist newspapers could only be found on their print form. But now newspapers can be found in a lot of different formats. There are the e-paper versions, iPhone versions or iPad versions. All these new platforms that have been created due to new media have a cost. The operating costs have to be taken into account but more importantly there have been a lot of investment costs for the newspapers. All that new technology had to be mastered so newspapers could offer their readers their contents on these new platforms. And in the future there will be new technologies brought on the market. In order to stay competitive newspapers will have to offer their contents that are suitable to these newest technologies as well as those that were cited before.

The technological turnaround which is happening in Switzerland for the newspapers will undoubtedly cause damages for many titles and change the media landscape drastically.

In order to be complete, it must be added that the influence of new media on newspapers has not been has huge in Switzerland as it is in other countries, in particular in the United States. Newspapers have been changed far more drastically from the influence of new media there. As stated at the beginning of the section the free press had influence on newspapers as well. But it cannot be compared to the impact of the new media. Lot of aspects of newspapers have been revolutionized in the last fifteen years, in particular the technological differences and the free contents. The new media has quietly shifted the power newspapers once had to their side. Even if that shift is not complete yet, it looks like it could happen very soon in Switzerland.


Page suivante : 7.2. Possible measures for the Swiss government

Retour au menu : Analyzing the influence of new media on newspapers businesses in Switzerland, the role of the government and the future of both media