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29 Oct 2009


Online Newspaper Business: Changing toward Subscribed Services (Business Brief No.2675)

Contemporary advancements in communications technology will likely drive the development of the newspaper industry worldwide further into online media that can facilitate access anywhere and anytime via the Internet. In addition, newspaper publishers have begun to expand their news reporting services by delivering top story news via mobile phone short message service (SMS) and multimedia message service (MMS), particularly when there are some important events that interest the public.
Factors that will help boost these new services include the lower prices of computers, developments in communication tools, Internet coverage and higher rates of data transfer (connectivity). Currently, service providers are largely providing online newspaper content for free, thanks to the growth of online advertising that helps generate income for online newspaper publishers. Nonetheless, online newspaper service providers may start charging subscription fees in the future if the growth of online newspaper business and news reporting via SMS or MMS adversely affects the sales of printed newspapers, as seen in some countries that have implemented advanced communications technologies, such as the USA and in Europe. Unfortunately, this new twist in IT development has been a factor in the business closures of some publications there; meanwhile, the rests are revising their marketing strategies by adopting online business models.
Web-based newspapers in Thailand are now becoming popular with increasing numbers of readers. As a result, it is expected that service providers may charge subscription fees from readers in the future. Due to some limitations in domestic communications technology and Internet infrastructure that need further development, online newspapers in Thailand still offer free service. Online newspapers are generating satisfactory income from online advertising via their websites; however, readers who prefer printed newspapers are more numerous than those who prefer online media, and this has helped maintain the sales of newsprint somewhat.

Nevertheless, newspaper publishers may reduce the size of their print runs to survive amid this changing business environment. This may affect the income of domestic paper producers serving the newspaper industry. Currently, paper producers face both decelerating domestic demand and intensified competition from imported paper, so domestic paper producers will have to adjust their strategies by exporting their paper to neighboring countries and other developing countries that still need paper to serve their newspapers business. This will help offset the decelerating demand for paper in the USA, Europe and Japan, where electronic media are growing.

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