A Media Milestone
In my post on predictions for 2007, I made a specific prediction that the current Internet 2.0 boom would continue and that eyeballs, dollars and influence would migrate from old media to the Internet. Now this isnâ€™t crystal ball stuff. Media and advertising professionals live this reality every day. Just look at your own life. How much more time do you spend on-line that you did 10, 5 or even 2 years ago? The debate is around how fast and how much, not if or when.
I read a news item the other day that was, for me, a historically and hugely symbolic underscoring of this flow of power to the Internet. The worldâ€™s oldest newspaper announced that it was ceasing publication on paper and would be only available on-line.
The Swedish newspaper PoIT â€” which stands for Post och Inrikes Tidningar â€” is the worldâ€™s oldest newspaper still in publication. It has been continuously published since 1645. 1645! That is just 90 years after Gutenberg printed his first bible. The paper was founded by the Swedish Queen Christina and her chancellor during the Thirty Years War.
The Editor, and only employee of PoIT, Roland Haegglund, was quoted as saying â€œThe change in format is, of course a major departure for some, possibly a little sad, but is also a natural stepâ€. Evidently PoIT, had long ago ceased to be a real newspaper, and had become an announcement vehicle for financial. legal and corporate institutions. When it published its final print version on December 29, it had less than 2,000 subscribers. All that being true, it is still a hugely symbolic occurrence that the oldest newspaper on Earth describes going to on-line only as â€˜a natural stepâ€™.
The world will go on, major newspapers will continue to both publish and decline in readership and the Internet will continue to experience explosive growth. No one outside Sweden will be materially affected by this event. Yet, though inconsequential this decision by PoIT may be, in the overarching timeline of media, it is a true signpost event. A door has closed, as another one swings wide open.