Death by digital looming for print publications

Newspapers as we know them will cease to exist in the United States in the next seven years. Print news publications in Britain and Iceland will go the way of the dodo by 2019, futurist Ross Dawson has told The Australian.

Publications in Canada and Norway will hold out until 2020, while concentrated print media ownership in Australia will keep newspapers on life support until 2022, when they will also die off in Hong Kong.

Mr Dawson has previously predicted journalism would soon be ''crowdsourced'' to "hoardes of amateurs overseen by professionals''. The author and chairman of the Future Exploration Network think tank will address a crowdsourcing summit in San Francisco on November 2 and Sydney on November 3.

He said newspapers in countries such as France and Germany will keep kicking until 2029 or 2030 thanks to governments willing to prop them up financially.

But in a statement sure to send shivers down the spines of media magnates everywhere, Mr Dawson said the prognosis for newsprint was terminal. ''In the developed world, newspapers are in the process of becoming extinct, driven by rapidly changing use of media and revenues out of line with cost structures," he said. ''There'll be a transition of what newspapers currently do to other channels of various kinds.''

Those channels include dishing up content via mobile and tablet platforms like Apple's iPad, he said.

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