With the recent news that The Independent is to move out of print circulation to embrace a digital-only format by the end of this month, I wonder how long it will be before other national newspapers follow suit. Although this move is to help ensure a profitable and sustainable future for the UK’s fastest growing quality newspaper website, the announcement is nevertheless tinged with some poignancy. It begs the question: is the death of print now inevitable?
There’s no denying we are living in the midst of a digital revolution that knows no bounds. Technology is evolving at a breath-taking rate. Owning driverless cars and virtual reality headsets will soon become as humdrum as buying milk and sugar. We are hurtling towards a digital society at supersonic speed, with the likes of smartphones, tablets and even smart watches becoming part of us (quite literally). The Independent is the first of its kind to take a major leap into the digital unknown by now opting to focus purely on its digital readers, in response to modern consumers’ demands for easy access to multiple apps from the same device.
However, there are some industries where the demographic actually still prefers print to digital, and we’re not just talking about the older generation. From my own experience of working in specific sectors, garages and engineers for example still enjoy flicking through a trade mag or journal during a coffee break. And who wants a greasy iPhone after all?
To cut ties with print altogether when there is still evidently a demand in some markets seems rather rash and admittedly, quite sad. Whether there will still be a place for print in our future, rather than being banished to Room 101 – regardless of the benefits of our technological advancements – remains to be seen.
Watch this (digital) space. . .