Digital revolution

Traditional media such as print titles are buckling under

the pressure created by a tough economic environment coupled with new media technologies luring their audiences away.

Circulation figures for the period between April and June 2014 released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations on 13 August 2014 paint a bleak picture for the print media, revealing a slump in readership figures.

The Times, Sowetan, Herald and Daily Dispatch are among the daily newspapers that recorded growth whereas the rest, including Business Day, The Star, Daily Sun and Beeld have seen a decline in sales.

The only weekly titles to record a growth in sales were Soccer Laduma, Sunday Sun and the Saturday Dispatch.

Besides consumers reining in spending, the poor results of print media could also be due to an inability to adapt to a changing media landscape.

Media mogul Koos Bekker, who stepped down as the CEO of Naspers this year,

went so far as to predict that the print media would be extinct within 20 years from now.

The digital revolution is changing patterns of media consumption with consumers turning to social media, mobile applications and online media titles for news.

Consumers’ demanding lives no longer give them enough time to buy and read the morning paper.

This shift has also influenced government communication strategies. Government communicators who are not adopting innovative ways of communicating should sit up and pay attention.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi wants a new breed of government communicator – one who is able to keep up with the ever-changing media

and communications environment and adapt to new digital products. Speaking to Public Sector Manager in Cape Town, the Minister said the time had come to rein in communicators across all spheres of government and take them back to school.

She said the recently launched National School of Government and ongoing refresher courses would be used

to help remind communicators about ethics and practices, while simultaneously teaching them how to be innovative and keep up with new ways of communicating.

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