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23 July 2024

UAE newspapers to become 'insignificant' by 2028

Ross Dawson, researcher and futurist, speaking at the 13th edition of the Arab Media Forum in Dubai on Tuesday.

By Staff

Opportunity is exploding for Arab media organisations as the Arab world is faster in adopting new media, Ross Dawson, researcher and futurist, said at the 13th edition of the Arab Media Forum in Dubai on Tuesday.

Addressing the inaugural session ‘The Future of Arab Media’, Dawson said Arab media should shift away from old channels to marry new channels, create contents for global audience and recognise community attitude to stay afloat in the Internet era.

“Newspapers in their current form will become insignificant in the years to come due to stiff competition with other media platforms,” he pointed out.

Giving a timeline, he said by 2028 newspapers in the UAE will become insignificant, but not newspaper organizations.

In the USA,  it’s is going to be 2017, Britain and Iceland 2019, Australia and Hong Kong 2022, Germany 2030, Japan 2031, Serbia and Saudi Arabia 2034, Russia and Turkey 2036, Metro South Africa and Thailand 2037, Mongolia 2038, Argentina 2039 and rest of the world 2040.

“Key factors that speed up newspaper extinction are increasing cost, performance of mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, changes in newsprint and print production costs, trends in advertising spend and uptake of digital news monetization mechanisms,” Dawson said.

“Use of new media is on par with global trends with high internet penetration levels in the Arab region. More people access digital media and herein lies the future of Arab media organisations,” he said.

“People will spend more time on new media such as internet, digital TV, analog TV, whereas they will spend less time on print media, as low as less than about five hours per week, but as high as 85 hours per week on internet,” the media futurist pointed out.

He said audience share on TV channels are also drastically coming down.

Active users of Facebook rose to 1.2 billion per month in the fourth quarter of 2013, mobile users rose to close to one billion.

Emerging trends

Analysing the new trend, Dawson there is also high mobile internet usage. On an average people spend 4.33 hours on all mobile usage every day; on online mobile 1.28 hours, TV 2.49 hours, radio 1.18 hours and physical print 63 minutes, social networking 1.67 hours, blogging 56 minutes and forums message board 76 minutes.

With fragmentation and proliferation, revenue earning capacity of media organisation has been challenged. Classic media channels can still sustain low cost. Therefore successful media should have niche channels to lower their costs, Dawson said.

He said there are seven driving forces of media in the world today:
1.    Consumption Growth
2.    Fragmentation of the market
3.    Participation of the users
4.    Personalisation of content
5.    Evolving Revenue Models
6.    Generational Change
7.    Increasing bandwidth

Development of digital media will drive media growth, he advised.