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Is print dead? Part II

Is print dead? Part II

A seismic shift is underway in the world of publishing. The very foundations of an industry are being redefined in real time, reports Communicate magazine. Part II

July 28, 2009 7:57 by

Click here to read Part I.

Regional market research and observations show readership numbers dropping year on year, according to Amer El Hajj, buying director at Starcom MediaVest in Dubai. But he says this is definitely not the death of print, attributing print’s lasting regional legacy to a sort of tradition. “As far as newspapers are concerned, mainly local papers, they’re about heritage and roots,” explains El Hajj. “Meaning if my father reads Gulf News, I have a loyalty to it. This is common with locals and Arabs.”

Newland also touches on the tradition of newspapers in the region, citing a “wonderful sort of tactile habit.” He says that as long as that habit exists, so will revenue, and the possibility for better titles and display advertising. “I’m not saying this is the future, what I’m saying is don’t bail out prematurely,” explains Newland. “Now’s the time we should be preparing for when more people get laptops, when more people get used to having their content in digital form, how they want it and when they want it, and when more people get less tolerant of the notion of having to pay for content, as has happened in the West. And that will come here.”

The move towards digital is definitely happening, but El Hajj says this is not the sole reason behind increased online advertising. “The agencies were changing the market identity of online,” he says. “It’s not like Gulf News or The National introduced online and we jumped to go online. We encouraged those titles to have a website and we started using it. We developed a lot on those titles and we believe those papers will be investing more behind digital in order to catch up with all the agencies. They’re changing because they are trying to adapt to the quick moves of all the agencies.”

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