The relationship between online and paper publishing is evolving at an incredible rate. In the last fortnight alone, we’ve seen The Guardian announce that stories will hit the website before the paper (provoking plenty of ‘me too’ announcements from other nationals), and that it’ll be providing a downloadable PDF of stories for people to print off and read.
And that seems like a good thing, doesn’t it? The newspapers are adopting to a new age. But there are big risks here. In the paper-only age, big companies had the advantage in launching titles. They had the money, the expertise and the supply arrangements to get a magazine out into the marketplace. On the internet, blogs allow people to be publishing in literally minutes, while corporate can take months to turn a good publishing idea into online reality. The publishers had the online sales teams to get the ad revenue coming in. Now Google will do that for any publisher, even the one man band. And the majority of the most-read blogs are still those set up by individuals.
Now, the big publishers are only just getting into this game, but its a game with new rules, and it’ll be very interesting to see how the blog landscape looks in a year’s time. But it is a new age. It will change existing publishers. As a journalist working in a big, and often slow-moving, publisher, I should be scared. But somehow, I’m actually very excited. The reasons why will have to wait for another post.