Classical Press, Digital Newspaper and Digital Technics

If Gutenberg’s invention revolutionized the transmission of information and communication, it took Diderot for the whole of human knowledge can be disseminated by the Encyclopedias and then the French Revolution to the ideas brewing lead to proposals for new social and political organizations.

Certainly, the pace of history is accelerating and digital technics, with the Internet, will not make us waiting five centuries to change the world in which we live. The changes now appear continuously and company managers have difficulty making good decisions, ones that must lead to immediate improvements and to properly prepare the future. The example of current efforts by the daily press for its transformation to digital technics illustrates this.

The technology for the digital press is not complex in itself. Since typing text on the keyboard to the composition of the pages, all the difficulties of yesterday have disappeared through software and high performance computing platforms. Many jobs have been lost, without solving the basic problems of the newspaper publishers. For indeed, we must further reduce costs by means of a concentration that brings competitors (and compelled to join, sometimes – as the Digital Kiosk for Publishers). For example, CPI, a major player in printing in Europe (17 manufacturing facilities in 7 countries), chose to host his client platform, Highway, connected Interoute, so you can switch the controls to the most appropriate production units in need of its customers.

We must also increase the number of readers already oversaturated by information received on the different types of available terminals. Most newspapers and magazines now offer digital versions of their print edition as a “pdf” file. Reader can access this digital title via a subscription or purchases the file and reads his diary on his computer, his tablet or his mobile. Yet readership proves to be difficult, at least in France. The spread of digital press remains very mixed following titles and their periodicity. For daily newspapers, these sales represent on average between 2% and 3% of paper sales. What is not, it will be said, but these digital sales allow certain securities offset paper sales declines (it is however permitted to doubt). France championship is currently owned by Le Monde (13% of the distribution of newsprint). Abroad, some digital press issues represent 15% of total newspaper circulation and for some Anglo-Saxon titles, the number of digital subscriptions exceed sales of printed newspapers (Financial Times since late 2012 and The New York Times since 2015).

Several types of digital media are being tested, in some montages “global-PDF”, others “thematic sections”, with or without access to newspaper archives, subject to a small fee above 8 items per month, or a flat fee, etc.

The interactivity in digital media is an attractive mounting, but requires the presence of a expensive moderator filtering (but useful if the magazine known to use these resources).

The “Tablet” formula was presented as a way to guarantee success. Alas! It appeared in the reality, that the tablet is only suitable for some public and some types of information. Comfortable digital text reading is also possible with a computer. Ultimately, managing multiple models of custom devices is expensive and it does not necessarily increase readership.

The Digital Book performances in France are not better than those recorded recently in the United States. It seems that the media works have captivated audiences at the expense of the book, even presented in digital form. The multitude of offers in the non-standard format “liseuse” has probably caused a decline in readership expecting a best offer from Amazon (Kindle system).

French publishers of newspapers and magazines are too individualistic to share together the results of various experiments that have been tried. Each player in the publishing world is still looking for the best economic model of the future of the book. Everyone lives in a bubble and trusts to the sustainability of the book (paperback or connected). The French, obviously, do not want to believe in change!

Good digital readings on the Smart-Webzine and happy holidays to all!

Daniel BATTU

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