The Internet as an invention has often come under flak as a medium that knocked off the reading habit just as the television was seen as an impediment to reading and the fine art of conversation. In reality, however, this versatile medium has enhanced the reading experience and helped in keeping the reading habit alive in a world stressed for time.
Dramatic increase in computer usage both in the workplace and at home could be argued as a key factor in bringing about sweeping changes in reading patterns. The computer had become the all pervasive work tool, knowledge center, communication medium and indoor pastime all rolled into one.
It was more likely that someone glued to his computer was more likely to read from his monitor taking brief spells off from work than pick a book or paper to read. The publishing industry sensed the changing trend and online books began to occupy space-in-space as quickly as new releases hit the stands.
The newspaper industry, however, could be credited with making online reading a mass affair. The Internet proved to be a boon to a time strapped readership who found it increasingly difficult to relax with their favorite daily and had to catch up with news from their laptops while on a flight, in a cab or while waiting in the airport lounge.
Newspapers realized the colossal saving in paper and print cost and logistical effort if they could reach their readership online. Newspaper reading also became more focused with readers’ preference shifting toward the topical news of their choice rather than reading the full paper.
E-mail helped to take the online advantage to the next level setting the stage for sweeping changes in daily news dissemination. Speed, ease of dispatch, economy and personalized reach made it the ideal vehicle for targeted news delivery across distances.
Newspapers engaged professional e-mail management agencies to professionally manage mailing lists and execute daily campaigns to their subscriber base, which in turn evolved effective technology and tools to better manage these campaigns. Web Scrapper technology automated the process of collecting news on pre-defined topics from the Web site and compiling it as a newsletter and API Calls technology (Application Programme Interface) enabled executing these campaigns without the need to physically logging on to the User Interface.
This facilitated campaign send outs from any geographic location using a URL, API also helped the sender to verify and approve if the news compiled by the Web scrapper is current. As niche news subscriptions indicated definite reader taste and profile newspapers could market them as ideal vehicles for companies to launch niche ad campaigns to a captive target audience helping to generate better ad revenues for the paper.