Over the past ten years or so, we have seen the birth and death of several sports newspapers and tabloids in Nigeria… and long before now the magazines have gone into extinction; you no longer find popular magazines like Complete Football, Four-four-two… on the vendor stands anymore.
How has business been for sports newspaper publishers since the internet and now mobile evolution?
Sports news are published online real-time and everyone can access them on their mobile devices free of charge… how has this positively or negatively affected the newspaper printing and publishing business in Nigeria?
A study by GreenHunters Sports International revealed that 96% of sports newspaper reporters/ journalists in Nigeria adopt directly or spin news they got first hand online… and that make up to 90% of their reports in their daily publications. This is referred to as desk journalism or desktop/ laptop journalism.
Sports newspaper publishers in Nigeria are majorly small business firms that doesn’t have the capacity to carry out primary investigative journalism… so they strife on secondary information the mostly adopted online.
This may just be one of the reasons sports newspapers find it difficult to report local news. They hardly have correspondence on ground… so they still depend on big media establishments like BBC Sports, ESPN, Goal.com… to first break the news of local sports events before they could adopt it.
But the issue is this…
Before you say “good morning Nigeria,” the news and articles on the sports newspapers publications of the day get stale.
Majority of Sports fans now have in their mobile devices Apps and Notifications that pops-up and prompts them as sports news break online across the world. So potential readers are way ahead of the newspaper publications.
The real-time breaking of news online is the real factor killing the print media and sports newspaper publishing business in Nigeria.
They are limited by time as every sports newspaper publisher must go to the press between 8pm and 10pm to enable them meet up distribution targets as early the next day…
Therefore, news that break out later in the night such as UEFA Champions League Results or FIFA games played at different time zones early in morning after midnight cannot be reported by the papers.
Take for instance, the death of the former Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, happened at about 3am and immediately went viral online and become almost staled before 10am the same day, but no sports newspaper was able to report the news that day.
No newspaper publishing house can afford to go to the press by 1am or so… they may not be able to deliver through their distribution channels early enough… as you know, majority of sports newspapers sales are made between 7am and 11am in the morning hours.
Many people don’t really see the need in buying sports papers when they can get the news as it unfold online – for free.
You might argue that the declining circulation doesn’t matter since newspapers make more revenue from Ad sales, but in reality, circulation and Ad sales are interwinning. Once advertiser notice that circulation numbers are declining for a particular newspaper, that immediately tell them that the newspaper isn’t reaching as many people.
This is the reason a lots of sports newspaper brands are in comatose state today… free online news are hurting them big time.