Abe Smith: What the papers say

I recently wrote about my views from the tube and the national love affair, or so it seemed, with the daily newspaper. But the question was – has print seen its day?

This question continued to nag at me as I headed to Heathrow for a flight to Frankfurt. Being new to Europe and killing time pre-flight, my attention was drawn to the 55” TV broadcasting a segment on the BBC called The Papers.

Billed as a “lively and informed conversation about the next day’s headlines” the segment shows anchors and guests, quite literally, holding up the daily newspaper and zooming in on the headlines. The conversation and banter proceeded to talk, indeed, in a passionate voice about the current events unfolding. It was a captivating and enjoyable spot.

Yet, I couldn’t help but consider the paradox again. If reading the paper was the goal, why not turn off the television and go to the news stand instead? Conversely, if one’s goal was to get your dose of live video, there’s plenty of it happening both on the physical screen and the virtual ones. So why both?

I think it suggests the evolution as described before from the old to the new by stimulating the senses by combining new forms of media. It also inspires the balance between ways of consuming data, garnering information and deriving evidence from trusted sources (in this case, the brands of both the BBC and recognised media leaders like The Daily Mirror married together).

A few years ago, Accenture conducted a study of the connected digital consumer, and it caught my attention that over 87% of consumers were using a second screen while watching their favourite sports game on television. Kind of like marrying newspapers and television news all in one, I guess.

In short, the motion from one medium/one device/one screen is evolving. We all want to digest our news, entertainment, sports and otherwise in multiple ways and I guess we can. Five years from now, how will we be looking to consume? My guess is it will be, yet still again, altered with more of a dose of social interaction woven into our media than we have seen to date.

Until then, I’ll welcome the segment of The Papers streamed straight from my iPad with the gregarious banter of the dailies.

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