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Researcher sounds dire warning for print media
By Imran Mojib May 21, 2014
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DUBAI: Traditional newspapers in the UAE will become ‘insignificant’ by 2028 and in Saudi Arabia by 2034. Thus adoption of ‘New Media’ is mandatory to stay afloat, said Ross Dawson, renowned researcher and futurist.

Dawson made this observation while speaking on ‘The Future of Arab Media’ during the inaugural session of Arab Media Forum 2014. He suggested that Arab media should shift away from old channels to marry new channels, create contents for global audience and recognise community attitude to stay afloat in the Internet era.

“Newspapers in their current form will become insignificant in the years to come due to stiff competition with other media platforms,” he pointed out.

Giving a timeline, he said by 2028 newspapers in the UAE will become insignificant, but not newspaper organisations.

In the USA, it is going to be 2017, UK and Iceland 2019, Australia and Hong Kong 2022, Germany 2030, Japan 2031, Serbia and Saudi Arabia 2034, Russia and Turkey 2036, Metro South Africa and Thailand 2037, Mongolia 2038, Argentina 2039 and rest of the world 2040.

“Key factors that speed up newspaper extinction are increasing cost, performance of mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, changes in newsprint and print production costs, trends in advertising spend and uptake of digital news monetisation mechanisms,” Dawson said.

“Use of new media is on par with global trends with high internet penetration levels in the Arab region. More people access digital media and herein lies the future of Arab media organisations,” he said.

“People will spend more time on new media such as internet, digital TV, analogue TV, whereas they will spend less time on print media, as low as less than about five hours per week, but as high as 85 hours per week on internet,” the media futurist pointed out.

He said the audience’ share on TV channels are also drastically coming down. Active users of Facebook rose to 1.2 billion per month in the fourth quarter of 2013, mobile users rose to close to 1 billion.

Analysing the new trend, Dawson there is also high mobile internet usage. On an average people spend 4.33 hours on all mobile usage every day; on online mobile 1.28 hours, TV 2.49 hours, radio 1.18 hours and physical print 63 minutes, social networking 1.67 hours, blogging 56 minutes and forums message board 76 minutes.

“Development of digital media will drive media growth,” he advised.

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