Steve Rubel has challenged his digital community again this weekend by stating that by 2014 all tangible media in the US will be in digital form: newspapers, magazines, books, DVDs, etc.
As unbelievable as it sounds, I think he is not that crasy as his post readers’ poll suggests. When it comes to print news, I’ve been following it’s trends since this spring, both in Norway and internationally. This weekend I arrived at the conclusion that newspapers will not recover after this year’s financial crisis. High drive costs combined with falling revenues both in form of sales and advertising incomes is a very bad combination. It’s creepy to see how in desperate chase after cash, even the most serious editions are degrading in their content, getting more and more inadequately squeezed in between glossy banner ads. There is no way they can survive the digital wave now that the news are not only being broken online, but also collectively analysed in ways impossible for journalists to compete with. Switching from print to digital news will also be a natural transition in our increasingly environmentally-aware culture.
DVDs and mainstream video game industry will vanish because of the rocketing choice of the free software combined with rapidly increasing bandwith: it’s just to take a look at the music industry.
The only truly sad thing about media digitilisation is a gloomy prospect that books too will be replaced with digital Amazon Kindle-like alternaltives. With books being at the very base of our modern civilisation, it is hard to let them go. And I also wonder how future civilisations will survive say next ice age or some other drastic lose of all electricity, with no instructions on how to turn it back on.