Though I am of the view that Online media will take over print media sooner or later (a distant dream), however, at this stage, print media is (just) one of the promotional channels for online media.
Definitely awareness, internet penetration and computer education are some things which will drive Social media further. In India, the literacy levels are low, local languages are much more prevalent than English. Access to internet and PCs is limited. Specifically talking about rural population it’s a definite distant dream.
However, as you would notice many print publications have enhanced the interaction in their publications by promoting user articles, editorial reviews (User Generated Content) key to social media and interactivity. However, you would agree that print has a limitation of size and capacity. Which means you can’t have a 100 page newspaper, rather you can have a 500 page linked blog.
Though there is no denying fact that sales revenues have increased over years for print/traditional media, however, the gross margins have reduced YOY. This is a clear indicator that the traditional media is bearing the brunt of social media.
Ashish Bagga, CEO India Today group mentioned this recently during his speech where he mentioned about investing in alternative media.
Also why Print media would take a hit is because of lack of reference mechanism or a search engine. Recently I wrote about it and the point is that you can’t refer back to newspapers/magazines as easily as you can to the online stuff. And it’s much more economical. Printing is eco – unfriendly, you are cutting down trees, online makes much more sense here.
Also every business in today’s time want ROI and to measure ROIs in traditional media is very difficult. Recently I wrote about how online media can be helpful for traditional media ROI tracking.
I would say if Online Media (eg. blogging) can be considered like a product. Then on a Bell Adoption Curve (especially in India) we are at the early adopter’s stage. It’s more of the geeks and some large corporate which are leveraging the power of blogs and social media for promotions. Also with more evolving technology, penetration of internet and education of usage of PCs, the adoption will follow.