This banking crisis is going to be more than a banking crisis. Seems like a full-scale recession is the least we can expect. Will this make much difference in the switch from print to digital? In the dramatic growth of the internet and web 2.0? I doubt it. The collapse in confidence is going to be bad for advertising, bad for investors, bad for consumers and pretty much bad all round. But the technological shift is not going to stall, it may even be accelerated. Sony have launched their latest eReader. A Kindle 2.0 is coming. The mobile web will surge out of the blocks next year. The big media companies are going to face a lot of pressure, especially from reduced advertising (but within this shrinking pie, the share and the absolute amounts going to the web will increase).
I bet the big newspaper companies and the consumer magazine companies are re-doing their 2009 ad revenue forecasts right now. The graphs will not be pretty. But consumers will be looking for better deals and that favours digital (our digital magazine subscriptions are on average 25% cheaper than print, more if overseas post is involved). Publishers will be under even more pressure to develop digital markets without re-inventing the wheel. Our distribution/e-commerce plan for publishers is low cost and low risk (largely underwritten by our small commission on digital subscriptions sold), and that will be an important consideration for cautious innovators.
The shift to digital may be accelerated as the economic tables are being turned. But this crisis is bad for us all. Especially in the way in which trust has drained out of the global financial system.