Friday, September 08, 2006

報業的範式轉移

9月入秋的倫敦,梅鐸的新聞集團及出版英國版免費早報《Metro》的聯合報業集團(Associated Newspapers Ltd),正火紅火綠齊齊涉足免費晚報市場,兩大巨人殺得性起,梅鐸的《thelondonpaper》大戰聯合的《London Lite》。而大戰前夕,《國際先驅論壇報》上月初一篇有關歐美免費報紙大戰的報道,加上《經濟學人》雜誌也湊熱鬧出了個震撼業界的“Who killed the newspaper?”(誰殺了報紙)封面專題,一時間又掀起本地市場對免費報紙的注意,一些專欄作者也乘機抽水,引用其中一句德國某報業集團的發言人說話:「We are convinced that good journalism should be paid for. (我們堅信好的新聞是應該要收費的)」,用以證明免費報紙的「罪行」。似乎,免費報紙仍是報業的異類,立足世界金融中心紐約曼克頓的免費報紙《amNewYork》的宣傳句卻是這樣的“Hey, who says a good newspaper can’t be free?”(唏,誰說優質報紙不可以是免費的?)

先驅論壇報作為收費報章,其報道難免有利益衝突,首先它錯誤將收費報與免費報放在二元對立面上,一於有你無我,無視互聯網、電子媒體等對傳統報業經營模式的衝擊。又將免費報統統形容為遷就讀者、多圖少文、不堪一讀的刊物,譏諷老闆賺錢至上。禤中怡心諗,如有人完全不從商業角度來搞傳媒,讀者才更應擔心其辦報動機。社會學家湯馬斯.孔恩(Thomas Kuhn)在1962年提出範式轉移(paradigm shift)的科學觀念,說明有時演進過程就如一場革命,新事物的出現若只是偶然打破常規,不足為訓,但當新事物一再出現,便需要以新的創意與思考邏輯來處理,也就是說,需要經常調整我們思考的邏輯,用新的角度看事物,否則我們便沒有能力解釋新事物存在的合理性,死守舊觀念而落後於形勢。禤中怡認為,近年本地免費報紙的出現,亦算是以收費報紙為龍頭的印刷傳媒(printed media),多年來的一次範式轉移。

發源於瑞典的《都市日報》02年登陸香港時,沒有幾多行內人睇好,因為一直的舊觀念係刊物平嘢無好,免費嘢更唔值錢,讀者不重視,廣告商亦唔會buy。其實當大部分收費報紙發展到每天出紙厚厚一疊又一疊時,報紙收入及盈利已變得主要靠廣告維持(因為一份報紙的零售收入是不夠支付紙張、印刷費及分銷成本,如廣告不振,賣紙愈多反要倒蝕),經營模式已不同以往,以為讀者會因為俾錢買報紙而對其中的廣告另眼相看,是一廂情願罷!

到香港《都市日報》開始賺錢時,人們又主觀地將其成功歸功於在地鐵發行,將打破報界常規的現象以特殊因素解釋,避談免費報的新經營模式是否可行,是不願面對範式轉移現實的典型心態。好了,到《am730》同《頭條日報》在05年出現,一方以商業區派發為主,另一方以入屋苑為主打,各有優勢。據尼爾森媒介的研究顯示,06上半年免費報佔全港報紙廣告開支的比例,已由6%升至10%,今鋪連地鐵優勢的神話也打破了,當大家還在質疑本地市場能否承受3份免費報紙時,這個市場已漸漸壯大,自成一派。

報業面臨的範式轉移,就好似互聯網初出現時,搞網等於燒錢,因為那時只知互聯網可吸引無數觀眾的眼球(eyeball)注意,但賺錢模式仍未出現,免費報情況就如紙上的互聯網,不過經營模式已漸漸浮現,以eyeball換取廣告收入。當然,能否吸引廣告商認為有價值的eyeball,還要看報紙的質素與格調。

(9月8日刊於《am730》)

13 Comments:

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