Digital payments for a digital generation

Disruptive technology in book and local newspaper industries

Open access


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.

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Nordic Journal of Media Studies

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