Digitalization is both a major cause of the challenges now faced by several media industries and a source of their potential solutions. Within the book and newspaper industries, the value of the physical product is about to be surpassed by that of digitally delivered content, disrupting the distribution system that these industries have relied on for many decades. In particular, digital distribution has radically changed the way in which consumers engage in unpaid and paid media consumption.
Anchored in the notion of disruptive innovation, and more specifically related to the idea of distribution as disruptive technology, our study investigates Generation Z’s unpaid and paid consumption of digital books and online local newspapers. Drawing on two Norwegian audience surveys, we find that both industries involve at least one disruptive actor. Generation Z relies heavily on Facebook as a distribution channel for news. Pay-walls have a negative effect on the usage of paid online local news, despite the belief that paywalled news is better than free news. In the Norwegian book industry, paper books still have a very strong position among Generation Z. Audiobooks have greater usage than e-books, and we conclude that the real disruptive actor in the Norwegian book industry is the streaming of audiobooks by actors such as Storytel.
Chyi, H. I. (2005). Willingness to pay for online news: An empirical study on the viability of the subscription model. Journal of Media Economics, 18(2): 131-142. doi: https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327736me1802_4.
Colbjørnsen, T. (2014). Digital divergence: Analysing strategy, interpretation and controversy in the case of the introduction of an ebook reader technology. Information, Communication & Society, 18(1): 32-47. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2014.924982.
Colbjørnsen, T. (2015). The accidental avant-garde: Audiobook technologies and publishing strategies from cassette tapes to online streaming services. Northern Lights: Film & Media Studies Yearbook, 13(1): 83-103. https://doi.org/10.1386/nl.13.1.83_1.
Cunningham, S., Silver, J. & McDonnell, J. (2010). Rates of change: Online distribution as disruptive technology in the film industry. Queensland University of Technology. Online, 136(1): 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X1013600114.
Gaigher, S., le Roux, E. & Bothma, T. (2014). The predictive value of disruptive technology theory for digital publishing in the traditional publishing environment: A South African case study. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 45(3): 261-288. doi: https://doi.org/10.3138/jsp.45.3.003
Geck, C. (2007). The Generation Z connection: Teaching information literacy to the newest net generation. In E. Rosenfeld & D. V. Loertscher (Eds.), Toward a 21st-century school library media program (pp. 235–241). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
Gershon, R. A. (2013). Digital media innovation and the Apple iPad: Three perspectives on the future of computer tablets and news delivery. Journal of Media Business Studies, 10(1): 41-61. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/16522354.2013.11073559
Graham, G., Greenhill, A., Shaw, D. & Vargo, C. J. (2015). Content is king: News media management in the digital age (1st ed.). New York: Bloomsbury.
Gregory, C. L. (2008). “But I want a real book”: An investigation of undergraduates’ usage and attitudes toward electronic books. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 47(3): 266-273. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/20864892
Hess, K. & Waller, L. 2017. Local journalism in a digital world. London: Palgrave.
Kammer, A., Boeck, M., Hansen, J. V. & Hauschildt, L. J. H. (2015). The free-to-fee transition: Audiences’ attitudes toward paying for online news. Journal of Media Business Studies, 12(2): 107-120. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/16522354.2015.1053345.
Lai, J. Y. & Chang, C. Y. (2011). User attitudes toward dedicated e-book readers for reading: The effects of convenience, compatibility and media richness. Online Information Review, 35(4): 558-580. doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/14684521111161936.
Loebbecke, C. (2010). The emergence of ebooks: Just another media industry joining the converging digital world? An explorative study on user preferences and industry structure changes. TPRC 2010. Retrieved from https://ssrn.com/abstract=1986386 [accessed 2018, June 21].
Olsen, R. K. & Solvoll, M. K. (2018). Bouncing off the paywall – Understanding misalignments between local newspaper value propositions and audience responses. International Journal on Media Management, 20(3): 174-192. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14241277.2018.1529672.
Olson, K. E., O’Brien, M. A., Rogers, W. A. & Charness, N. (2011). Diffusion of technology: Frequency of use for younger and older adults. Ageing International, 36(1): 123-145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12126-010-9077-9.