Friday, August 3, 2012

Financial Times: digital is now bigger

Financial Times: Digital subscriptions have surpassed print subscriptions, article.
“The FT’s results for the first half of 2012 show that more people than ever are paying for FT content, with digital subscriptions exceeding daily print circulation for the first time.”

This is huge because Financial Times is huge.
And last we heard, digital subscriptions were pitiful, and everybody was desperate and fearful of the future of magazines. Well, if this is not a good sign I don't know what is! And this is even before digital magazines have found a comfortable, universal format. They are very much in their infancy, the software is clumsy and experimental yet, and the hardware is either too small (Kindle) or too heavy and expensive (iPad). So it can only get better.

I think that in the 2020s, the time when paper publication was bigger than e-publication, will seem as dim and distant as the pre-web times has looked to us for a while now.

Another thing is, of course all the publishers are reassuring their subscribers and advertisers that "the paper version will stay". They have to say that. But printing/distribution are big, big expenses, and if and when the time comes when the only time to keep the paper arm of the company alive is to keep pouring red ink into a black hole, will those past reassurances count for much?
I would not be at all surprised if in 2022, paper magazines will be like vinyl records: selling to a small specialist audience in small dusty stores which you have to look for to find.

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