Newspapers are already a death foretold. The only thing missing is the date to carve into the headstone.
Editors and owners belatedly woke up to the fact that they had problems going-forward* when they found that youngsters were not buying and reading papers at the same rate as, well, us.
Those that decided to forecast the death of papers at that point decided that papers would go into a long, slow decline, shedding readership in tiny chunks as their oldest readers died off and were not replaced at the same rate by younger readers - who are all masturbating in front of YouTube or exchanging indecipherable gibberish on their blip-phones. They have more engaging activities to activaterise themselves in than staring at dead trees and still pictures for half an hour.
I think however that the powers-that-be in newspaperland have misread the ideas behind diffusion - innovators, early adopters, laggards and so on. Youngsters are viewed as being the innovators in this space, with innovation in this context being all bad. They have reconfigured their lives in such a way that a newspaper is not part of it.
Newspaper editors have been gambling that the rot will simply stop there. Youngsters will take up new technology like i-Phones and twitter and so forth, but old dogs like me will continue to take their daily paper out of sheer force of habit. People who have subscribed for 20 years are unlikely to give up now.
If that's the way they have been strategising, then I have a brain dump that they won't like.
My parents used to read so many papers each day, they had to read them at the dining table (which seats 14) because the smaller kitchen table (where they breakfast) was not sufficient to hold such a volume of newsprint. At the office, Dad would regularly churn through a copy of every major daily paper that this country had to offer.
They are paper-holics. They absorb information like sponges. You could say that they have massive bandwidth for this sort of thing.
They are now down to one daily paper, and are thinking of dropping that. Mum likes to wrap her kitchen rubbish in newspaper, so if she can kick that habit, she can kick the paper. Their paradigm shift is that they've moved almost completely online, and they are in their 80's.
Call them a canary in a coalmine if you like, but I think more than just the yoof are ditching the habit of the daily dead tree. Let me forecast that declines amongst private buyers will be much faster than expected, whilst government departments and companies will continue to keep buying papers long after their employees have stopped reading them.
Here's something I have noticed.
Five years ago, if you picked up a paper at work that the company had paid for, it was pretty dog-eared by the time I got it: many people had read it before me. It had gone through lots of hands, and been badly folded back into shape after each reading.
Nowadays, I pick up a paper as I am leaving work, and it is pristine. It is rare to see an open paper at lunch, or even at the desk of someone loafing.
Drill down on that.
* I am trying to see how many wanky terms I can fit into this post.