The Decline of Print Media: Tracking its History

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Throughout most of the 20th Century, print media was considered one of the pillars of a democratic society. The news that people received was funneled through a handful of mediums. Print newspapers across the West would sell millions of copies a day. 

At their peak, they were the number one news source for many people in countries such as the United Kingdom. 

It is one of the few industries that could actively accuse the internet of crippling its business model. Although many of these companies switched to digital services, many struggled to stay afloat as media moved to digital platforms.

Conversely, a vast number of other industries have been galvanized due to the emergence of the internet. One of the critical examples of this is the digital casino industry. It barely existed 25 years ago and is now a multi-billion-dollar international enterprise.

The casino industry has benefitted so much because physical overheads like energy bills and rent have been removed from the equation. This has allowed providers to focus on the games and technology that underpins them. With the rise of the digital domain, you can now find all the games you would in a physical casino on sites like Slotslv without having to leave the comfort of your home.

However, today our focus is on the decline of the behemothic media industry, how print media has struggled because of the internet, and what these companies did to survive and adapt.

At Its Peak

During its peak in the 1970s and 1980s, print media regularly sold over 5 million copies daily. The power and might of press barons during this period were enormous. 

Rupert Murdoch created much of his multi-billion-dollar empire off the back of newspaper sales in the United Kingdom and the United States before leaping at television-based news in the 1980s.

Such was the power of Murdoch; he has often been cited as someone who could influence general elections just by the front pages he would print in the United Kingdom.

The marketplace between the prominent newspapers was incredibly fierce. Many tabloids often paid big money for exclusive interviews, news stories and sports headlines. The advertising pages within national newspapers were also a significant source of revenue for print media.

The Internet And The Gradual Decline

Thousands of print newspapers have closed in the United States in the 21st Century. Although the method of consumption has changed wildly, the ownership dynamic has generally remained the same. 

Internet companies now fire out the news at a hyper rate. Print media would write and prepare stories over 24 hours. However, as the internet started taking more of a prominent role in our lives, the speed at which the news came at us accelerated rapidly.

A select few billionaires and conglomerates still control the media. Social media is now the primary source of news for people. It is cheaper, easier to access and instant. You also don’t need to purchase a newspaper at the local shop. It is already there at your fingertips.

You can find any type of news online, ranging from local sports news to huge international headlines.

The Cost Of Advertising & Shock Headlines

One of the critical reasons print media has declined so rapidly is that the internet has started to eat into advertising revenues. Companies no longer had to set aside considerable budgets for advertising in the local paper. Instead, they now have access to a global market instantly. 

If you sell products, you don’t need to pay for an advert in print media, as you would in the 1990s. Instead, you can simply use several well-known companies online and post your advert for free.

Some UK businesses have faced high costs due to external factors, too. For example, the Sun in the UK has made its name by disparaging marginalised communities. It often used repulsive homophobic, racist and transphobic headlines, even at its peak popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kelvin Mackenzie, responsible for libellous and wholly false headlines about the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989, cultivated an environment of shock headlines to sell papers.

In addition, the business has also been responsible for many phone hacking scandals, which have crippled the company financially. As a result, analysts believe the publication might be out of business within six years. 


The damage of shock headlines has been far-reaching. The general public began to lose trust in these colossal organisations. As the internet started to take hold in society, it was a no-brainer that a free and quick way to access your news would surge in popularity.

Print media is a relic of a time gone by. Unfortunately, for many, it represents a period that is best left there. 

With such a variety of news available online now, and media companies focussing solely online, print media is in the twilight of its existence. As a result, the decline of print media will likely gather momentum. It’ll be a surprise to see any print media that still exists by 2050.