Are apps cannibalizing print newspapers?

When I go back home on holiday, my morning routine is to fix myself a cup of tea and head down to the garden with a newspaper. I spend about an hour leisurely sipping a hot cuppa and reading the paper from cover to cover (well, almost!). Every time I return back, I promise myself that I will get up earlier so that I can read at least the headlines and a couple of stories before I rush off to work. But, I’m a late sleeper and a late riser, and reading the newspaper is something that I just cannot fit in to my morning rush to get to work. I used to try to get onto a newspaper website before I started the day at office so I was not totally oblivious to the world around me, but that didn’t always happen.

Then, I bought my iPhone and was initiated into the world of apps. The New York Times (NYT), Hindustan Times and NDTV were among the first few apps I downloaded. Of these, the NYT app is my absolute favorite. The headlines and the entire news story are downloaded when you start the app, and you can read them whenever you have a few moments to spare. I generally download the news as I run around getting ready, and then quickly scan through interesting news stories whenever I am stuck in traffic. You just gotta love technology, right?

Given our increasingly busy lifestyles and the proliferation of the internet and smartphones, it’s no wonder that newspapers (especially in the US) are seeing subscriber numbers fall. To deal with the loss of subscribers and declining ad sales, a few publishers are once again putting their online content behind a pay wall. The NYT has started asking users to pay up if they want unlimited access to digital content, and News Corp. put so much faith in the proliferation of content on tablets and on the success of Apple’s offering that it launched an iPad only subscription news magazine The Daily.

Are these moves warranted? Recent figures seem to say yes.

Paid subscriptions to read News Corp’s Wall Street Journal on tablets (Kindle, Nook, iPad and Android tablets) quadrupled to 200,000 in 2010 from about 50,000 a year ago. Though this may be a very small figure compared to the 1.6 million print copies that are circulated each day, it is a huge leap forward, and may well be the start of a brand new trend. Who knows, the day might come when people will have to go a museum to see what a printed newspaper looked like!

What’s your take? Do you prefer to read a newspaper the old fashioned way, or have you moved online?

Posted in Opinion pieces and tagged , , , , .


  1. I’ve never been one to sit down and read a newpaper. I’ve always loved to find my news on either TV or via the internet… so I guess I’m happy it’s headed in this direction.

    HOwever, I must admit, those big headlines, and seeing the front pages of the Newspaper are what gravitate my attention towards them!

    • I know what you mean! Whenever I have a bit of time, I do a quick scan of the headlines. Most days, though, I log on to the internet or an app on my phone and get my news fix on the run!

  2. Pingback: It’s all about the model, honey: Why India’s newspaper industry is set to grow and grow | Modern Gypsy

  3. My personal preference is an old-fashioned newspaper, but that luxury is only reserved for weekends. Alas, I also have to scan digital news during my week days.

    One thing though, nothing beats digital for breaking news, and I always appreciate how quickly I get information about the event much more faster than the traditional newspaper.

Leave a Reply