An independent opinion poll survey recently carried out by MediaEdge Polls, has come out with a damning revelation that online media has taken the shine off the sales of the conventional hard copy newspapers in Nigeria.
More than 78 percent of those who responded to the survey questions by the company, which is an Opinion Poll Survey unit of CBD MediaEdge Communications Limited, admitted that sales have gone down significantly, while 22 percent said the sale has been upward for the period polled.
“On the whole, 90% of media professionals said economic factor is affecting the purchasing power of readers and is the major factor for downward sale. Another 70% said Incursion of social media is the major factor. 50% said competition from other newspapers is responsible, while 40% said logistic constraint is the major factor.
“Instructively 80% of media professionals believe that the future of online news media is bright and might edge out the traditional media in the future, while 10% said the future is not as rosy for the online news media.”
The report of the survey, signed by the chairman of the CBD Media Edge Communications Ltd, Isiaq Ajibola said that the original aim of the survey was to understand the pattern of migration to the online platform and the impact it has had on information dissemination since 2010 to date.
Part of the report is reproduced hereunder:
“…in order to understand the newspaper readership and behavioral pattern in Nigeria, with particular reference to online incursion has shown a stiff competition between the two news sources in the last five years.
The original aim of the survey was to understand the pattern of migration to the online platform and the impact it has had on information dissemination since 2010 to date.
The survey was based on online and direct questionnaire approach and administered to a fairly large population. The survey was conducted between September 2nd and October, 12th, 2016 and about 3000 respondents were sent the questionnaire using both the online and field survey method. The survey targeted two main respondents; the General Public, and Media Professionals like Publishers, Editors, and Commercial Managers etc amongst Nigerian adults (18+). The instrument of data collection was online and field questionnaire, while specific platforms like Facebook, Email, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, etc., were used to reach respondents.
Media Professionals were specifically asked to assess the possible impact of online news platform on sales. About 78% of them admitted that sales have gone down significantly, while 22% said the sale has been upward for the period polled.
When asked what could be the reasons for the decline, 89% believe that the proliferation of online news is the factor that has affected the sale of hardcopy significantly, while only 11% of said the effect of online is insignificant.
On the whole, 90% of media professionals said economic factor is affecting the purchasing power of readers and is the major factor for downward sale. Another 70% said Incursion of social media is the major factor. 50% said competition from other newspapers is responsible, while 40% said logistic constraint is the major factor.
Instructively 80% of media professionals believe that the future of online news media is bright and might edge out the traditional media in the future, while 10% said the future is not as rosy for the online news media, as they believe that the hard copy still has hope of dominating the media landscape for a long time.
A survey of the general public on their preference and primary sources of news consumption , shows that 75% of the respondents rely on the newspapers ,followed by 65% respondents who rely on Social Media, 52% on Online Newspapers, 46% from Television, 39% from Radio, and 34% from Magazines.
Similarly, the general public who preferred accessing news online were asked to state the reasons for going online for news rather than buying a hard copy of their favourite newspaper. About 69% of them said they went online because it is cheaper and provides ease of mobility, 68% respondents said because it is accessible and faster, 52% said online provides more regular updates than hard copy, while 36% said it is more interactive than hard copy, which means readers can instantly make comments or react to any editorial content unlike in the hard copy.
More instructive is the fact that the survey discovered that 78% of the respondents spent less than N5,000 monthly in purchasing hard copy of their favourite newspapers. This means their preference for online content has reduced their purchase of hard copy. The economic factor which affected their income is also a consideration, as majority of Nigerian readers are low income earners. This assertion was proven when they were asked to assess the cost of sale of newspapers in Nigeria today, as 46% of them believe the cost is beyond the reach of the average Nigerian, while 23% said the cost is moderate.
In conclusion, there is a general trend of migration to online news, of which economic factors are major determinant followed by the social media influence. The incursion of various news media, news aggregators, social media, etc, are responsible for the downward trend in the sale of hard copy of newspapers, coupled with distribution problems, competition among newspapers and the current economic recession which has affected the purchasing power of respondents particularly the low income earners. The future look bright for the online newspapers and it will continue to grow as asserted by cumulative numbers of respondents of up to eighty percent, while ten per cent are undecided another ten percent admitted that despite online incursion, newspaper will continue to grow.
While commenting on the survey report, Azubike Ishiekwene, MD/ Editor – in -Chief of The Interview and member of the Board of the Paris – based Global Editors Network, Said ;
”I think it’s no longer a question of print versus online. It’s about content and how journalism adopts, adapts and innovates.” In his own comment, the Editor- in Chief and CEO of Daily Trust Newspapers, Manir Dan- Ali said: ‘It is useful to have this finding which aims to shed light on an area that the media has been relying on conjectures and anecdotes. What is particularly useful is the take of members of the public whose conclusion is that, while online may come to dominate the media landscape, there is still space for print, even if in a reduced sense, in the short to medium future.’
This is our modest and noble contribution to knowledge that will help shape the media industry in Nigeria, as part of our corporate social responsibility.
Chairman, CBD Media Edge Communications Ltd.