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More Proof That Steve Ballmer Is An Idiot…
As if dancing around onstage like a drunken buffoon wasn’t enough, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer followed it up by declaring that all media will be delivered over an IP network within 10 years. Though there are a ton of enormous ramifications to that prediction (ever read a book, Steve?), one of them is that there will be no print media of any kind in 2018. Despite the rapid obliteration of the daily newspaper industry (focusing solely on what Ballmer’s ridiculous comments entail for print), it’s a preposterous statement akin to declaring that we’ll all be driving solar-powered land cruisers and carrying light sabers by 2018.
Not that Ballmer’s patently ludicrous remarks warrant refutation, but two recent studies show that even while the dailies are imploding, print itself remains a wildly viable media platform. A recent study by Alloy Media+Marketing reported that 82% of college students read their college newspaper, a rate double that of the average daily newspaper. Another study by The Media Audit reveals that 43.8 million U.S. adults have read an alternative newspaper in the past 30 days and that readership among the 117 papers surveyed in 88 markets around the U.S., readership grew by 3% in 2007. And as Erik Sass reports, daily newspapers in smaller communities are not only surviving the web-induced media tumult, they are succeeding quite nicely these days even in the face of the current economic downturn.
Metro dailies are most certainly dying, and within 10 years, many will undoubetdly be dead. Most of those that do manage to survive will, in fact, be delivering their content over the web, and only a small handful of dailies will be printing a paper in 10 years. But print itself continues to deliver tremendous value for both media providers and media consumers, albeit in appropriate channels, and Ballmer’s claims to the contrary simply erode Microsoft’s already dilapidated credibility.