Saturday, April 16, 2016

UK Newspaper Reading 2016

The huge increase in mobile phone and internet apps is affecting daily life considerably and probably not always for the best - the sizeable reduction in newspaper reading especially by the young may be said to be an example of a change for the worse.

 As an aside I recall in the earlier days of mobile phones, questions being raised about the increased incidence of cancer for more intensive mobile phone users and  as regards those who lived near to mobile telephone relay masts. Those questions do not ever appear to have been satisfactorily answered...but I digress.

One of the changes feared by newspapers is a large decrease in those buying the daily hard copy paper editions and turning instead to reading a small proportion of news"paper" content  online . The limited  small proportion read results I understand from the reader's online attention span being short. The newspaper industry  has and is still desperately endeavouring to adjust to these changes. 

The FT has for some time charged for online access with  significant  success though apparently insufficient to cause its former owners Pearson to desist from selling it to  Nikkei for a tad under £900m. 

Still the sizeable price tag  paidsignifies that  Nikkei sees a decent market for that specialist business newspaper.

The Times has been available online  at a price, which a number  (though not I) appear to be prepared to pay. It is hard to tell but the indications are that the online edition is not very profitable if profits are made at all. 

Yesterday shopping at the local Waitrose supermarket I  was given a free copy of the paper edition. The  content  (as distinct from the news stories) has hardly changed in format  since I last actually bought a copy. The Times newsprint still seems to blacken one's hands slightly which contrasts with most other newspaper hard copies, which have a better feel somehow. It is owned I think by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp

The Telegraph newspaper edition  retains its somewhat  old fashioned and unwieldy foolscap size which makes it more difficult for readers to handle. The online version is quite readable and cleverly  the Telegraph allows a reader to savour 6 articles online free before  shutting the reader out unless an online fee or subscription is paid. The content is slightly too right leaning for me and I am not enthusiastic about  the Barclay Bros after hearing views about them on the Isle of Sark (the Barclay Bros live nearby on the small isle of Brecqhou) but wonder if they are minded to sell the publication in any event?

The Guardian is a good read  both the hard copy and the free online versions, possibly partly because its political alignment is rather to the left of my own, which means that I read it rather more carefully than might otherwise be the case. The trouble with a newspaper having a known or at least perceived political alignment,  is that it makes many of its articles and especially its editorial comments, too predicable eg about the UK needing to remain in the EU. Nonetheless a fair read though I wonder how it and its sister newspaper The Observer are doing financially?

The hard copy  Indy sadly is with us no more. I never liked its internet version very much although that was free and doubt that I will pay to read the new online only version. 

The Independent newspaper group sold its successful summary version the "I" to I believe, The Johnston Press. I know not the political hue of the Johnston Press but so far am impressed with the new owner's  "I" newspaper,  especially this week end's version, which covers the whole gamut of news, views, business, arts  general interest and commentary. An excellent 50 pence (40 pence on weekdays) worth, which strikes the hard balance between having  too much writing and content on the one hand and producing too little of substance on the other, at the  apt level so far at least.

The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday used to be great rivals to the Express and Sunday Express group with the latter group outselling the former. These days the Express Group has fallen back and the Mail now substantially outsells the Express and many other newspapers. The Mail also has an apparently very successful online version which I gather has more readers here and in the USA than most other online newspapers. 

The Mail is too right wing for me however. Also many of its "news" articles are more gossip than news though in fairness the Guardian seems just as interested in  the  outcome of the Court of Appeal  deliberations about whether those said to be involved in a "three in a bed" scandal may be named and shamed. Hardly worth reading in my humble opinion let alone being fascinating or apt for publication in a civilised  newspaper at all. 

On the other hand the Mail does seem successfully to have focused on appealing to its female readership; still it's not for me though Mrs Maytrees apparently  likes it.

Overall then "The I has it" lol. 

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, Jerry. For the first time in many years, I am dipping into the online editions of British newspapers and, on the strenth of admittedly very limited exposure, I tend to agree with your judgement of the different papers. I think my political stance is very close to your own and, somewhat to my surprise, I find that the Guardian is best for hard news. Who ever would have thought that a few decades ago!

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