Effect of Apps on the Newspaper Industry

Contemporary Issues and Research

To analyse the effect of app technology development on the newspaper publishing industry


The first newspaper publishing was made in the early 17th century which was in the year of 1641 and the newspaper wasn’t recorded until 1670.  Financial times made an entry in the newspaper publishing industry in the year of 1888. This suggests that newspapers become more popular in 19th century and prices for newspapers started to increase due to the number of customers interested in buying the papers (Local histories, 2012). Newspapers went digital in the year of July 1980 as the computer was introduced in the same year (Poynter, 2014). This suggests that more wider group of audience were able to read newspapers online and widen the customer segmentation in getting all sorts of readers to read newspapers online. First News released the first newspaper app  which targeted the younger generation readers made a huge success in publishing it on iPhone and iPad and customers were buy to download it for free and subscribe directly through the app (Whats new in publishing , 2014). This research proposal will investigate the impact of app technology on the newspaper publishing especially the relation between the Financial Times and the Independent.


As it was announced that Independent will be moving digital from February 2016 and so few issues have raised in that particular area. One issue is that a number of publishing factories will close down and have a negative impact on the remaining factories production line. For instance approximately 20 to 30 factories will shut down and so 150 full time staffs including factory workers will lose its jobs. And the regular 111 casual staff will either be redundant or will have to seek job position at other newspaper companies or contribute to the factory (Guardian, 2016). The second issue is with regards to the digital shift will there is any guarantee that there will be changes made to the independent demographic target market. For example most of its readers are aged between 16 to 50years old and 43years old is the average of its most frequent readers who read its editorial newspapers (the media briefing, 2014). This implies that there is a high demand of elderly readers still wanting to read the newspaper and catch up with daily affairs as well as the younger generation would want to upgrade to digital industry. The final issue is that with the planning of making profit with the digital strategy will there be a loss on the oncoming years of its position in the digital industry. For instance with the saving investment they want to invest in high quality editorial content which will attract more readers on their online platform. There is no guarantee in what the outcome will be for Independent as they made a loss in its previous year.


Aim:  the aim of this study is to investigate the effect of app development technology on the newspaper publishing industry i.e. Financial Times and the Independent.


  • Identify the impact of app technology development on the publishing industry.
  • Evaluate the revenue constraints of the both editorial newspapers which have made a position in the digital publishing industry.


1.1 Disruptive technologies

Disruptive technology is defined as a misplaced of technology which will change the industry on the grounding of breaking products (what is tech target, 2014).

Internet and digitalization are changing the newspaper companies and destroying the traditional culture which leads to companies either being successful or unsuccessful. With the study done on disruptive innovation theory there has been investigation made on the role of dynamic capabilities and performance track in respond to digital disruption. From the authors who have investigated the role of disruptive technology in the CIME companies have said that the “inexpensive digital information goods are changing the goods of computing and communication within the newspaper industry.” This suggests that the communication style will change in the newspaper publishing by attracting new readers and audiences through more online publishing industry.

With the guidelines of disruptive innovation theory the researchers were able to the resources process value framework to analyse the cause of companies either succeeding or failing towards meeting the digital innovation strategy. Christensen’s argued that companies didn’t build enough digital platforms and so they need to start building strategies around disruptive innovation theory. This implies that all newsagent companies must change its strategy in order to meet the requirements of doing successful in the digital publishing industry. In terms of the disruptive technology having a place in the newspaper industry which has led the industry to undertake digital transformation strategy and act in a complex way in the value network community. This implies that there will be an increase in the quality and quantity of digital contents and widening the choice of consumers and filling in the product gap which can help the newspaper be successful by going digital.

It’s concluded that disruptive technology can either have a positive or negative impact on the newspaper industry because if you build strong digital platform capabilities then you are able to move the newspaper companies’ forwards in terms of adding and offering news products and services to meet the readers wants in the digital age. But if there is no development of digital platform capabilities newspaper companies won’t be successful by going through digital transformation process and have the ability to respond to high numbers of digital non-core products.

1.2 Technology impact on publishing industry

Technology had a negative impact on the publishing industry because traditional newspapers have suffered revenue losses and is unable to advertise heavily on media industry.  With the newspaper publishing industry itself they were encouraged to adapt to technological advances because so that it could save job position in areas like digital delivery and increasing more job advertising. (Chan Olmsted, 2006: 253; Küng, Picard and Towse, 2008: 25-6) But technology has played a positive impact on publishing industry because it has allowed online newspapers to increase target market and identify new readers. For example online newspapers were able to bond a relationship with its readers on the interactive platform and identify its readers preferences through checking carried out to see which contents are more popular to readers (Turow, 2012). This suggests that the publishing industry is able to publish the correct content and so that is able to increase its profit on the oncoming years.

Within the publishing industry technology has impacted the man-made production line as there are few workers who still have its job in certain departments of the factory. When printing newspapers it goes through the following process like the typesetting, image transference, plate making and printing. With technology getting advanced day by day it’s meant that few workers are needed in the production line. This is because with use of technology it’s able to speed up the process and pick relevant news which is mostly liked by the consumers (made how, 2016).

1.3 Technology impact on newspapers

Technology had a negative impact on newspapers as it forced them to change its organisational structure for the newspaper production. From studies done by Barnhurst and Nerone they argued to challenge the idea of technology and competition in changes of newspaper designs. And both the authors concluded that editors and designers must participate in a broad cultural drift in order to increase modernism. This implies that the researchers didn’t find any correlation between technological change in newsroom and intense design changes.

Also the research has identified technology as an organizational resource which introduces the relationship between the designer and pagination. By completing the research it showed that it will be difficult to create computerized pagination systems so that it could help the designers to create more flexible working hours. This implies that without any pagination systems staffs won’t be able to work in flexible which could result to disruption in the production line.

In addition technology has played a negative impact on newspapers as it was previously identified through previous research. It showed that technology forced newspapers to specifically target advertising for a cheaper price (slide share, 2013). This suggests that to be able to increase revenue money was required to be invested so that the newspapers profit line could survive during the financial recession. It changed the business model and advertising strategy so they were able to compete within the national newspapers. This suggest that technology had a negative impact on newspapers to the extent of falling sales in the newspaper copies and for the sales of copies to increase by changing the business model  so they are able to sell copies successfully.

1.4 Independents planning strategy in the digital publishing industry

Independent decided to move into the digital world as they will print its last edition on March 26 2016 and they wanted to expand its digital strategy to boost the revenue. The purpose of moving digital is to act more purely as a digital player (journalism, 2016). This implies that the Independent wants to expand the talent of digital printing and upgrade its new in the digital world.

With the support of gadgets available Independent would like to use tablets to release morning edition and they will name it as “The Independent Daily Edition”.  This implies that it could have a negative impact on younger generation readers as the app will require the consumers to pay either £2.99 per week or £12.99 a month in order to access the full version of the news app (journalism, 2016). In the upgraded app the Independent will separate its content in different areas like new, business news, sports and comments. This suggests that it will make it easier for readers to search what they looking for and that the Independent would like to improve its brand reputation by presenting itself professionally on Apple news and Facebook Instant Article. Independent would like to develop a new structure in the newsroom because they would like to create a connection between highly experienced and print focused writers as the newsroom staffs know what the customers would like to see (journalism, 2016).  This suggests that it will bring a positive atmosphere between the two in the newsroom and place its staff operation in a systematic order.

Also the Independent is looking to invest in international reporting because they would like to improve the quality of journalism print and turn it around to be a successful outcome. In the digital expansion they would like to expand the international network in Paris, Hong Kong and Beirut because they want to set a global presence in these three locations. So in terms of recovering from financial losses in printing newspaper edition the organisation would like to diverse its revenue stream. For instance the publishers have failed to explain to readers to explain the purpose of trade off and why is it good to have it between the advert and depth reporting. This implies that the Independent is ready to invest more money on advertising revenue and by increasing the quantity of ads will maximise the business profit and create a value exchange (journalism, 2016).

1.5 Financial Times current digital strategy in the digital publishing industry

Financial times are currently in planning on re designing its company website and have currently updated a new version of the FT newspaper. In 2014 they wanted to change the font/grid/ role of graphic images so that the print editions are able to suit the digital age.  The reason why they wanted to focus on these three areas it’s because with professional font it will make the newspaper look more elegant and instead of 8 column grid there will be 6 grid (Poynter, 2014) so it makes the newspaper look more attractive and the role of graphic images will give the newspaper more defined look and set a digital purpose in the digital world. This implies that with wider group of readers interested in FT they must consider in changing the relevant layout so readers are able to understand what they have read.

In terms of re-designing the company website they wanted expand its premium size in the inventory and create more long term platform for its readers. With the new website they will remove some ad like the Facebook and Google adverts so that it saves the ad budget (the drum, 2015). By asking readers to try out a free trial of accessing the full text on FT time has lowered the interest of younger generation readers as they are not able to afford paying the full price of using the app. After considering all the risk factors Financial Times decided to make a design planning of the new website as they believe that it will give the readers a new experience in finding the website more useful to access information.



Ethics is defined as a behaviour which is ruled out on the basis of what is good and bad and it is a study area which deals with ideas that outlines human good and bad side behaviour (merrium – Webster, 2016). Others define ethics as a belief which is something really precious and very important.

Within the secondary data I must consider that the data will be kept secured and confidential which implies that it will be hard to access that particular data. In order to access the data I must seek permission from the both newspaper companies and must understand what data is allowed to be access. When collecting secondary data I must consider the right for privacy as companies like Financial Times and the Independent might not find it comfortable in sharing its confidential data to public.

In terms of accessibility issues when using secondary data the information may not be updated and relevant to the research topic. If the information isn’t relevant to the research topic then the whole research proposal won’t have an accurate conclusion.  When accessing secondary data it must assured that the data won’t be shared to the third party. This is because the company must know the purpose of data collection and how the data will be used so they are aware that’s its information will be kept confidential.



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