The future is bright? The future is digital.


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.


3 Responses to “The future is bright? The future is digital.”

  1. 1 Adam Singer November 17, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I am the most digital-oriented person you’ll meet. I haven’t read a tangible newspaper in 2+ years. I get all my media digitally. I only read blogs and e-zines, no magazines.

    But, I cannot give up books in a tangible format. I don’t know what it is, but the kindle just isn’t the same as a printed book. You can’t take the kindle to the beach (I mean, you could but you would worry about it getting destroyed).

    Plus its harder to share content from Kindle with friends (I love to swap books with people).

    Agreed on all other forms of media, but not books.

  2. 2 Helena Makhotlova November 18, 2008 at 6:29 am

    That was a comfort to hear, Adam. I feel very much the same: I dont’t either read papers nor watch TV (in fact I don’t even own one). What I do read is books, and, ocassionally, life style magazines, like on the trip or while in the coffee shop. This is the only way when I’m a passive media consumer.

    I can’t imagine life without books, cause it would be so much poorer. But I don’t really believe the books are going to disappear. Simply because they serve another purpose and need than digital media.

  3. 3 Adam Lewis November 23, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I think it’s only a question of when newspapers and magazines turn to digital-format only media. 2014 might be slightly optimistic (or pessimistic depending how you look at it!) but the decreasing sales of newspapers and the increasing hits on their digital equivalents all point to the inevitable death of these formats.

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November 2008
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