Yes, desktop is dying. And it’s even worse for newspapers with paywalls

Publicerad: 13 November 2015, kl. 14:13

Yes, desktop sure seems to be dying. Even more so for local Swedish papers that have implemented paywalls, according to a new report by Mediamentorerna.

Adam Jönsson

‘‘The local papers’ hunt for revenues have in many cases scared readers away,’’ Jonas Elgh at Mediamentorerna says in a statement.

Mediamentorerna’s report, released Thursday, shows a decrease in the number of desktop readers for most local news outlets in Sweden. In many cases, the increase in mobile hasn’t offset the desktop losses.

The report comes at a time when several other reports have shown numbers to suggest a so-called desktop death.

In it’s Future Report, released earlier this week, global media group Schibsted concluded desktop is the new print and that a transformation from this platform to mobile is necessary if media outlets want to survive.

‘‘Sometimes I’ve phrased it even harsher at times when I’ve said that the web site is the new printing press. Our take is that this is an age where mobile media consumption is the norm and that includes social distribution,’’ Fredrik Strömberg, co-founder and VP product, at media start-up KIT told Smashdig after Schibsted’s report.

On Thursday, Internetstiftelsen i Sverige (IIS) released its annual report Svenskarna och internet. It shows mobile use is rising amongst Swedish Internet users.

Digital media expert Emanuel Karlsten, who had been invited by IIS to put the statistics in context, concluded that just as media outlets have found a way to monetize banner ads, the audience is leaving desktop for mobile.

Paywalls don’t offset revenue drops

Media group Gota Media, which owns newspapers Ystads Allehanda, Barometern, Kristianstadsbladet, Smålandsposten, Borås Tidning and Trelleborgs Allehanda, and have implemented a paywall system seems to have been hit the hardest, according to numbers provided to Smashdig by Mediamentorerna.

In 2014, the media group’s papers had an average of 80,000 unique visitors a week. This year, the number has dropped to 42,000.

Most of the Gota Media titles show an increase in mobile. It’s not big enough, however, to offset the desktop decrease.

Mediamentorerna bases its report on numbers from the KIA-index, an organization that measures traffic on web sites.

Gota Media is not the only local media group facing an audience drop.

Many of the media groups that have implemented paywalls have failed to offset lower print revenues by charging for content online.

People still visiting these sites are doing it less frequently and click on fewer articles than before, Mediamentorerna says in its report.

‘‘They [the local papers] have failed at their main task: To be a natural part of their readers’ everyday digital life. It’s not until then they can create a foundation of a business model that gives them vigorous revenues,’’ Elgh says. ‘‘There’s still chance for a do over. But they need to hurry, time is running out.’’

Read our full coverage of the Schibsted Future Report and Svenskarna och internet 2015:
More Swedes pay for music, video streaming services
Digital media expert astonished by Swedish Snapchat reach
5 remarkable digital facts from 2015
Free Download: Swedish internet habits in 2015
The media start-up: ‘‘The web site is the new printing press’’
The publishing company: Mobile most important to us
Mobile payments are about to explode

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