The migration of readers, viewers and advertisers from newspaper and broadcast television to the web is not limited to the developed world but has also become a visible trend in developing countries such as Nigeria. Newspapers have for the past decade decried the decline in circulation as web visits continue to increase, making the future of newspaper journalism an uncertainty. Thus, this paper takes a look at the changes that online journalism has brought in the Nigerian media landscape as its presence is mostly felt by the traditional media. The study adopts the technological determinism theory and the media morphosis theory, for while technological determinist hold that technology is the major determinant of change in the society, mediamorphosis theory believes in the unification of already existing institutions with the changes brought about by technology. Hence, the traditional media instead of being displaced by online journalism, and converge with the new media to enhance its operation. Consequently, the federal government and media-personnel should endeavour to equip media houses with the needed infrastructure to enable them stay afloat in this digital era as online journalism has come to stay.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Experts in the nations media and marketing communication industries at a forum organized by the Advertising Agencies? Association of Nigeria, (AAAN), in 2010 in Lagos, raised alarm on the future of newspaper in Nigeria. Majority of the participants concluded that unless the print media braced up to the challenges posed by the new media, it might go extinct in the nearest future. This apprehension was no doubt a fall-out of the report which portrayed an alarming slide in the patronage of newspaper. According to the 2010 study carried out by the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) across the country, the daily sales figure of all the newspapers was less than 300,000, meaning that only one in every 470 Nigerians buy newspapers daily (Ekeng, 2010). Putting this reality in proper perspective, Popoola (2010) said that all the newspapers in Nigeria today have combined circulation figure that is far less than 500,000 copies per day when compared to 1980 when the population of Nigeria was about half of what it is today. Presently the stockpile of unsold copies of newspapers and magazines in the circulation departments of most print media organizations is a vivid sign of this challenge. Ekeng (2010), disclosed that The Punch as the number one selling national daily only circulates 34, 264 copies, The Sun was ranked third with 25, 632 unit sales. Vanguard got 25, 241, while Guardian and This day came 5th and 6th respectively, with 25, 222 and 21, 703 daily sales. Daily Trust, the most popular newspaper up North has 11, 672 daily unit sales. Tribune, the oldest surviving newspaper in Nigeria, was another surprise, managing only 8, 314 daily sales. The above mentioned dailies constitute what is known as the top 8 in the standing. The others combined, including Compass, Daily Independent, Leadership, National Life, New Nigerian, Mirror and Westerner, could barely rake up 1,600 daily sales. The question then should be, why the alarming slide in the patronage of newspaper? This is very important as a wrong diagnosis will invariably lead to an inappropriate treatment. Ekeng (2010) noted that circulation decline is a global phenomenon as the newspaper industry in America, Europe and even Asia are also affected. This, he said, is primarily due to the impact of the Internet, which guarantees quick news for free. Topping the list of all the causes is the crashing local economy, which has greatly reduced the purchasing power of most Nigerians.
Most editors do not connect to the reading public through their publications which in most cases lacks depth and quality content that serves the majority. In the last two decades, the world has witnessed increase in the population of active middle age people. This increase has brought about new social life which is global in scope. The Internet brought this social state. Most of the newly empowered middle class have access to the Internet and seriously have developed a mind set. Why should I buy a newspaper for information when the same is available on my phone free of charge? Moreover, the Internet gives me access to different sources for the same information? all for free. The role of the Internet and Information Technology in online journalism cannot be over-emphasized. Information technology has and is playing a veritable role in changing the face of journalism practice in the world and Nigeria is not left out. The increasing impact of technology through the new media in publishing and dissemination of information has given room for an increase in both professional and amateur journalism in Nigeria media organizations.
Today, the Nigeria media is not
limited to the radio, television and the print alone, the upsurge in technology
via the internet has created new platforms for the dissemination of news and
information within minutes. With the click of a button, news and information
can be posted on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, blog and websites, intimating the
world of any development instantly. These new technologies makes use of video,
audio and picture. They have transformed the shape and face of media
organizations in the country. Journalism has been undergoing dramatic changes
as it adapts to and takes advantage of digital technologies and the new media,
and they are having profound effect on all levels of the journalistic
enterprise. The pace of these changes is quickening now, altering the practice
of the journalism profession as never before. These changes encompass a wide
range of activities from news gathering to dissemination and are bringing many
benefits, but with attendant challenges. At a Journalism Conference in Dublin
Trench (1996:2) identified ?several ways in which information technology
touches on the practice of journalism, all of which have affected how
journalists do their job?. He posited that technology has led to the following
direct input by reporters and from external agencies into the editorial system.
The way reporters gather and disseminate news is changing. Internet is emerging
as a medium of mass communication. That brings in fresh competition to other
media, even forcing changes in content. The emergence of communication
technology has made it necessary for media establishments to make their
presence felt on the net and technology has facilitated the creation of
websites with social networking sites to complement them, while some smarter
media organizations are also making use of blogs, to make their presence more
Technology has made it possible for people to read an entire newspaper online. It has given way to a new form of freedom to information dissemination. For example , the ?Good Governance Tour? in the South East by the former Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku and the National Conference were highly commended by Nigerians and these commendations were made possible through the social media networks. Globally, the rise of digital media platforms presents enormous opportunities to better inform citizens world over and it has also given everyone a fair chance of becoming a writer and a commentator. Nonetheless, these opportunities have brought in new barriers to the free flow of information, such as filtering, blocking of contents, digital surveillance and restrictive digital media laws. Similarly, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), which is a wire service media organization, is also facing its challenges with the emergence of the new media. Media organizations which are supposed to subscribe to NAN now have other means of getting news, information. This development is consequently affecting the existence as well as the resources of the agency.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The internet medium has engaged the power of the fast-paced Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in diverse ways and leaving its awesome influence in all spheres of human activities. One of such influences could be readily noticed in the online newspaper phenomenon that has greatly increased the accessibility of people to all kinds of information services. No wonder since the late Canadian Professor of English, Marshal McLuhan predicted that we live in a unique revolutionary communication age, there has been an unprecedented surge of new and better information tools, new media delivery systems, new information processing, storage and retrieval systems and people are turning to the web for news that is rich and instantaneous compared to the analogue media where, according to Karlsson (2007), interactivity, convergence of pictures, moving images, fusion of text and sound into one medium of distribution are lacking. Some media organizations may not have actually weighed the economic consequences and implications therein. The problem necessitating this study is therefore: what is the influence of online journalism on revenue generation of Nigeria mass media
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are stated as follows:
1. To examine the influence of online journalism on revenue generation of Nigeria news media
2. To examine readers motivation for patronizing online newspapers against their print version and vice versa.
3. To determine readers perception of online and print newspaper in Nigeria.
4. To ascertain the convenient in accessing online newspaper in comparison with their print versions
5. To examine if Nigerian newspaper organizations are aware of the ‘Paywall’ billing system as it affects revenue of online newspaper
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study
1. What is the influence of online journalism on revenue generation of Nigeria news media.
2. What is readers’ motivation for patronizing online newspapers against their print versions and vice versa
3. What is readers’ perception of Online and print newspapers in Nigeria?
4. How convenient is accessing online newspapers in comparison with their print versions?
5. To what extent are Nigerian newspaper organizations aware of the ‘Paywall’ billing system as it affects revenue of online newspapers?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There is no doubt about the fact that work like this will be beneficiary to some set of people and entity. Meanwhile, this work will benefit the media organization, media organizations as any other social institutions have always used technology in the production and distribution process there this study will help the media organization to innovations in communication technologies.
The research may also benefit the educational institute where this study will be submitted that is Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi where the study may act as a source of secondary data for other students.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study will be centered basically on ‘the influence of online journalism on revenue generation of Nigerian news media '. The study will examine audience perception considering the demographic factor of Auchi people such as, education background, age, sex, marital status e. t. c