Rarely have the Mass Media been presented with as many challenges as at this time. Hundreds of once financially prosperous newspapers have closed in America and around the world, as people are increasingly informed by electronic media rather than print.
Fortunately, there are exceptions that promise a much better, in time, future for the media. This future increasingly lies in the electronic mode of information. It doesn’t mean that… print media is over. It will be around, I believe, for decades. However, the new generations will move towards electronic forms.
A prime example of a media company that looks to the future with great optimism is the New York Times. About a decade ago, this newspaper found itself at the edge of survival. In fact, it was forced to enter into a $600 million loan arrangement with the richest man in Mexico for which it had been harshly criticized. And how was it saved? It decided to charge for her electronic ‘product’, not offer it for free. It would sell it, charge a subscription.
That was the first time that happened, and almost everyone thought they would fail. They believed that people would find the news elsewhere for free and that they would not need to pay.
Fortunately, for those who care about the protection of independent journalism, these voices were proved wrong.
While there are thousands of free websites, people are happy to pay to get valid information. To illustrate the magnitude of its success, I will note that the president of the company announced that The Times added 180,000 electronic subscribers in the second quarter, and that its total number of subscribers has reached 9.2 million. That is an unfathomable number. It could never have reached so many people with just the print version.
And interestingly, a good percentage of its subscribers come from abroad. From all over the world. From people who, because they do not find valid information in their countries, gladly pay – about $400 a year – to be informed by New York’s historic newspaper.