At the dawn of the Internet, pundits were already predicting the demise of the printed newspaper. Yet it’s still around. Why?
People tend to be conservative in the way they go about things; they don’t want to change at the drop of a hat. The printed word has a certain beauty. A newspaper leads the reader elegantly through the content: you can separate the sections and share them with others over a cup of coffee. This kind of reading experience is not easy to transmute into the digital domain.
How has digitalisation changed media consumption?
Digital transformation and the spirit of the times have engendered new ways of accessing and enjoying media. Audio and video are coalescing. And whilst overall media consumption remains essentially unchanged, it has become more granular and is now spread across several devices and types of medium. Hardly anyone still reads a newspaper for 40 minutes at one go.
“Digitalisation has forced the media world to become more customer-oriented.”
What do your customers think?
Many of them struggle with today’s surfeit of information. They’ve neither the time nor the inclination to deal with the daily barrage of breaking news snippets. And so they appreciate the fact that our medium provides context, orientation, and walks them through the labyrinth of information.
How is your company responding to these changes?
By designing and offering novel forms of use for various devices. We’ve given birth to new formats where we relate content
and context via video clips, audio files, livestreams, photos and written reportage. Another example: condensed overviews, such as our e-mail newsletter with recommended daily headlines. We’ve also developed an app that actually reads the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” to you when you’re on the move. And then there’s our personalised newsletter: in addition to the latest news from the reader’s areas of interest, we make recommendations for reports that we, as media professionals, consider relevant. In this way, we combine artificial and human intelligence to create added value for our customers.
Our challenge is to bridge the gap between depth and immediacy. In terms of print, the change is of a less fundamental nature since traditional newspaper readers have not radically altered their consumption behaviour. But certain content – such as sport results – has been fully shifted to the online channel, simply because it’s more adequately and flexibly presented there than on newsprint.