Newspapers losing audience to Internet news-sites

Business World columnist Ashok V Desai has an interesting thought put forth in his recent article titled "The Rise of Internet" in the issue dated 26th Jan 2009. He points out to the findings of a research conducted by Pew Research which show that for the first time Internet had overtaken news papers as the principal source of news in US. 40% of the 1489 respondents of a survey got their news from the internet as against 35% from newspapers.

While this has taken a good 2 decades after the advent of Internet in US, it would happen way too faster in Asia Pacific and more so in a countries like India which have adopted English as their official business language. Much of the next generation have started forgetting the habit of scanning the morning newspaper over a cup of coffee. Rather, they head straight to their laptop to surf their way to the latest news. Newspapers are already stale by the time they have left the print house.

Internet offers the option of tracking a news item minute by minute, following news items that suit one's tastes to point of nausea, follow wisebytes pouring out of one's favorite reporter, compare news reports of sites and even leave one's own two cents of thought on the news website. Even television as depicted in the graph is losing out share to the internet. The one way medium of newspapers doesn't stand a chance against this onslaught.

The point that Ashok mentions is the tendency among internet surfers to not pay for online news. This should spell doom for newpaper houses even if they decide to go online with their news. How do you come up with a commercially viable model that coaxes Internet readers to pay for news they consume online.

What needs to be seen is if any Indian newspaper successfully comes up with such a model; something that even the Western media houses have failed miserably at...