It may not just be Scottish print media that’s screwed in the coming years…

The power of print media in All Star Superman

From Grant Morrison’s/Frank Quitely/Jamie Grant’s All Star Superman 11

It might be all Scottish media (including online), based on the latest stats…

Despite being one of the first in Scotland to heavily advocate the power of the internet and online, I’ve always believed that most people are too negative about the imminent collapse of the printed media in the country – or at least a collapse before 2030.

However, recent stats have made me not only rethink that, but also consider that online media may be in danger in well.

The problem with media in Scotland

It’s often been said that Scotland has too many home-grown (not the same as home-owned) titles for a population of around 5million people but in the past that doesn’t appear to have been a problem with the main tabloids having audiences of up to 750,000 and broadsheets with six-figure circulations.

Changing travel patterns, digital (and the Metro newspaper before it) changed that.

Now we live in a print era where The Times is one of the few success tales with a slight increase in full-on sales but still less than 30,000 copies sold daily. Equally, the likes of The Scotsman and The Herald are under 25,000 and 30,000 respectively. For the tabloids, 200,000 copies sold a day seem a distant memory. (Let’s remember – country of 5million people so even 200,000 is a small percentage of that.)

So we aren’t far from points where publishers are sadly going to look at drastic action for ┬áthe publications. But that leaves online as the saviour yes?

Erm… potentially not.

A World Wide Web… except for viewers in Scotland

The latest website regional ABC’s are fairly grim reading. In essence, the Scottish media – with the potential for a global audience – are doing about as well as they did 15 years ago when they could only reach a local audience through print. But, as we know, an online customer and advertisement aren’t as profitable as print equivalents – by approximately a factor of 100 if I remember correctly.

There’s a few problems here:

  1. There’s clearly no brand loyalty to the traditional media – either at home or abroad with the Scottish diaspora. (Going online gave the Scottish media a chance to go from reaching 5million to potentially billions – but there hasn’t been an uptick in online audience, so something’s not worked there…)
  2. Where are people actually getting their news from? Are they getting news?
  3. How can the traditional brands survive in constantly shrinking audiences?

So what can be done? Should anything be done? That’s for another post…