Future of Bangladeshi Print Media: Strategy of Survival of Two Highest circulated print Media in Bangladesh
- Aritra Ankan Mitra
This paper tries to find out the challenges and the strategies to retain or hold the position of the most circulated print media in Bangladesh which is, known as Prothom Alo and The Daily Star after the online era became popular in Bangladesh. They are not only the print media which are facing the problem after online media came in limelight, but as they are the highest circulated in Bangladesh, if it’s possible to find out their problem, it can be assumed what are the others’ current positions in the industry. There has been a major change in the way to obtain news by people now a day. The online news sources are getting as preferred medium for news to consumers. Before people had access to Internet like modern era, they were receiving their information via printed-paper delivered daily to their homes.But this an era of digitization and like everything else, Media has two versions now- Print Media and Online/ Digital Media which works like Print Media, but much faster and immediate. Online Media include electronic, broadcast and Internet media. Today we didn’t need to buy books, newspapers, magazines and newsletters, as they can be found as a digitally published as electronic editions on the Internet. As today’s people prefer faster and latest news update of every moment instead of waiting for the next day’s printed newspaper and read every detail, they are tending more to Online News Media nowadays. A statistic is presented in Fig. 1 showing how much time during an average week do people spend on print content in the U.S. Even in Bangladesh, we see that there are tons of Online News Portals and with smart devices on hand; people are seen reading Online News instead of a printed newspaper. But for hundreds of years, Print Media has been one of the most powerful expression medium of the thoughts of mass people. The industry associated with the printing and distribution of news through portable, disposable and lightweight publications printed on paper and circulated as newspapers and magazines is known as Print Media. They hold contents that are informative and entertaining and of general or special interest. Newspapers or magazines are published once or daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, bimonthly or quarterly. (Curtisu, 2011) In Bangladesh, Print Media has been making the general people learn what is going around them and playing the role of publishing their opinions and views on these topics.
Fig. 1. Average time spent on print content in the U.S. in 2011
But Online Media is taking over the Print Media now. As a result there is some people who even believein the near future printed newspapers will be extinct. From Fig. 1 we see that the number of people spending no time at all on print content has increased to a shocking extend. Among the respondents, four percent stated they spent over five hours with magazine or newspaper apps during an average week. (Statista, 2011) So definitely Online Media can be considered as a competitor of Print Media. This research is conducted to find whether Online Media is becoming a threat to the Print Media, whether it will replace Print Media or Print Media will continue ruling.
1.1Rise Of Print Media and Online Media
History of Print Media and written communication follows the progress of civilization which moves in response to changing cultural technologies in turn. The biggest change was printing on newsprint and use of the printing press. The earliest examples of printing include Cylinder seals and other objects such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Nabonidus Cylinders that refer to wedge-shaped inscriptions of King Nabonidus of Babylonia. (Wikipedia, 2002) As long ago as 25,000-30,000 years B.C. first humans painted descriptive pictures on cave walls. The narrative compositions left on the walls of Lascaux represented their own way of communicating with the spiritual world and another. The well-preserved arts and drawing depicted their deep religious beliefs, fears, and also everyday life. The pictures or pictorial types that were found in caves of Southern France and Spain represent the beginning of written communication for the human kind. The advent of a writing system coincided with the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to more permanent zeminder or landlord encampments when it became necessary to count ones property. In 1900 B.C. the Chinese invented their very own style of writing independently. Writings preserved on various bones were the earliest records of Chinese Writing found. Their achievement was the building stone for Japanese and Korean to create their own models in 400 B.C. The first alphabetic script appeared in Palestine at about 160 B.C., which influenced early Phoenician (113 B.C.) and Hebrew script (110 B.C.). At first stone and clay tablets were used to express thoughts. Later, in 105 B.C., Tsai Lun of China invented paper as we know it today. (Piechota, 2002) Thus world’s first ever printed media was introduced.
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Let us now focus on a brief history and growth of the Print Media of our subcontinent. The press, having more than300 years of history, is the oldest mass medium in the Indian subcontinent. James Augustus Hicky, an Englishman and a former employee of the British East India Company, published the first newspaper from Calcutta (West Bengal) in 1780, known as Hicky’s Bengal Gazette or the Calcutta General Advertiser and was a two-sheet English-language-weekly. The first Indian-owned newspaper was the Bengal Gazette, also an English-language weekly published by Gangadhar Bhattacharjee in 1816. By the end of the 19th century, Indians had become restless under British rule and the nationalist movement began to spread throughout the subcontinent. Nationalist political leaders, some of whom were active in journalism, formed the Indian National Congress in 1885 to spearhead the independence struggle. The Anglo-Indian press played an important role in raising hatred between Hindus and Muslims in India who had lived together for centuries through mutual cooperation. In a political about-face, the British government adopted a favorable position towards Muslims and became concerned about their ‘backwardness’. In 1947, the Indian subcontinent was divided into two states- India for Hindus and Pakistan for Muslims-when the British left the region. At the time of independence, East Pakistan had no daily newspaper and most of the newspapers were Bengali language weeklies. Meanwhile, at the time of independence from Britain, India had a strong base of newspapers. After independence from Pakistan in December 1971, the government established in Bangladesh took the ownership of the trust owned newspapers– the Morning News and the Dainik Bangla-in East Pakistan. The Bangladeshi press faced a severe blow to its growth in 1975, when the democratic government with an absolute majority in the Jaitya Sangsad (National Parliament) banned the publication of all newspapers except those which were taken over by government. After that, with the advent of democracy in 1990, Bangladesh saw a mushroom growth of newspapers. (Bhuiyan, 2002) Since then, Bangladeshi Print Media has continued its journey. In brief, this was the history of the Print Media in our subcontinent.
Now the Print Media has come nearer to the mass people through the help of Electronic Media, i.e., Online Media. Electronic media’s chief advantage is its immediacy. In Online Media, we know news of any occurrence within moments sitting just in an Online News Portal while the Print Media awaits till the next day for publishing a highly important issue occurred on any day. When in a rush, people like to know only the gist of what is happening around and Online Portals play great roles serving this. Mostly the new or younger generations are the main contributors to the decline of the printed version of newspapers. As they were brought up with new technology all the time. This generation was already used to with lots of electronics gadegts; they were the first group targeted for electronic publishing. As we were enterd in a new age which can be called as the age of communicating digitally. With this technology at our fingertips, we can freely express our opinions and “report” on any topic as in the form of blogging. This can be called as the amateur reporting. Some argue that these bloggers i.e. citizen journalists will provide the Internet with more content, more information, more analysis, and a wider range of niches. It has been predicted that this new form of journalism, known as digital journalism, will give rise to a new social model based on a professional-amateur partnership. (Smith, 2014) Today only a wring in the paper, with a photo is no longer acceptable as news. It got transformed into a digital medium and adopted a lot, from the advantages of technology. Now we can also get videos and some more links of the news online. People are interacting through social networks about the news and their views about the news. Handy or portable devices like mobile-tablet pcs are allowing them to acces the news from any where any time. This is allowing us to interact with the news at closer level than ever before.On the other hand, Print Media is still preferred by numerous people of the world despite the immediateness of Online Media. As a reason it can be mention that Print Media holds an edge through its content quality, which a professional editorial staff can produce. For example, Audit Bureau of Circulation figures showed that ‘The New York Times’ boosted overall circulation by 73 percent from Monday through Friday– and 50 percent on Sunday–over March 2011, when it first launched digital subscriptions, according to Politico. (Heibutzki, 2015) In Bangladesh, we also have too many Online News Portals nowadays. While delivering the latest news immediately to people, most of them have not yet been able to replace Print Media. Some Online News Portals also publish spam or unnecessary news links unlike the Print Media which serves the purpose of peoples learning the correct and necessary information properly. Print media is easier to use and read which may be why it has not sunk out of our society completely. But, the read availability, convenience and price of digital media means that it may soon replace print media permanently. So from this point of view we can consider Online Media as an upcoming threat on Print Media though till now the Online Media is certainly a better companion of the Print Media, but not the replacement of it.
- What are the strategis of Prothom Alo and The Daily Star to retain their position in the industry?
- Does Prothom Alo and The Daily Star feels that they are a threat for online media or the vice versa?
- What are the prefarable news sources for readers?
- To know the challenges with which the Print Media is dealing with.
- To find the strategy of their survival.
1.4Rationale and Significance of Study
A research on the future and strategy of print media in Bangladesh can play an important role in future for this industry. Nowadays this issue is one of the most important topics, not only in Bangladesh, but also as globally because the advancement of technology.A tablet, such as Microsoft Surface, is essentially a larger, version of a smart-phone. The popularityof these kinds of devices is continually growing up, as they are easier to carry and use. As portable device technology advance, so do the news organizations.So this research also tries to find the reasons for people’s spending less time on Print Media. A statistic in United Kingdom shows the reason for reading fewer magazines as of May 2012 (Fig. 2). Of respondents, 11 percent reported reading fewer magazines because the media landscape was too crowded. Cost, time, relevance of issues, advertisements and environment are the factors playing roles in this matter.(Statista, 2012)
Fig. 2. Reasons for reading fewer magazines in the United Kingdom (UK) as of May 2012
This research tries to figure out these types of facts from the perspective of Bangladesh. Prothom Alo and The Daily Star both have e-version of their newspapers. This research will find out what is the statistics of their online and printed version readers. Finally it will show the impact of Online Media on Print Media and what are the losses and threats for Print industry and what strategythey are adopting or if there is significant shifts to hold position in the industry. What are the challenges for the authority will also be lightened by this study.
Bhuiyan, A. J. M. S. A. (2002). Mass Media, Communication, and Culture in Bangladesh in the Shadow of a Big Neighbor.
Curtisu, D. A. (2011).About Print Media.Retrieved on 20 April, 2015 from the UNCP Website: http://www2.uncp.edu.
Heibutzki, R. (2015). What Is the Advantage Disadvantage of Print Electronic Media? Retreived from the Chron Website:http://work.chron.com/.
Piechota, I. (2002). Means of human communication though time.Retrieved from: http://myweb.cwpost.liu.edu/paievoli/finals/505Sp 03/Prj1/irene piechota.htm.
Smith M. (2014).The Future of News & Journalism: The Dying Newsprint & Rise of Online Media. Retrieved on 21 April, 2015 from The Modern Ape Website: http://themodernape.com/.Statista (2011).Statistics and market data on Books Publishing.Retrieved from a Stistical Portal, Statista:http://www.statista.com/markets/417/topic/477/books-publishing/.Statista (2012).Reasons for declining magazine readership in the United Kingdom (UK) 2012.Retrieved from Statista:http://www.statista.com/statistics/289356/.
Wikipedia (2002).Retrieved from Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/printing.
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