The Fatboy Show Presenters Fatboy and Olive have expressed concern towards the slow but sure death of news print publications that is taking a toll globally.
Red Pepper Publications, now on the verge of closure, has debts amounting to 10 billion shillings which it has failed to pay according to reports made by an online media house after revealing that the tabloid’s premises were advertised for sale by the loaners of the publication.
It is said that the debts were accumulated following the loss of a number of defamation court cases against the newspaper that involved prominent figures such as the former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, former Justice Wako Wambuzi and the Queen Mother of Tooro Best Kemigisha among others.
The tabloid gained its influence in the early 2000’s from telling contentious stories based on sex and scandal but increasingly faced huge blows over the years from the competition posed by social media accessible to anyone with a smartphone.
“I worry for the media because this has also been happening in the West where news publications in Australia were trying to sue tech giants such as Facebook and Google by demanding a share of the profits from the advertising revenues on their news sections. This is because the media publications were losing advertisers to them yet they were using their content,” said Fatboy.
Fatboy and Olive agreed that the tech companies are keeping all the money which they don’t generate themselves but rather from news platforms and their users.
The two presenters further reasoned that long existing publications such as The Mirror, Hello and Daily Mail no longer generate as much revenue as they used to back in the day thus introducing subscription plans.
“I've been seeing a lot of clickbait articles from The Washington Post and New York Times and it made me realize that social media is really eating into print publications!” Olive said.
To add on to this, Fatboy commented, “The media is really suffering and this is contributing to the rise of independent content creators such as Joe Rogan, a podcaster who got 200 million dollars from Spotify to stream his podcast on the platform. It's no surprise that he is vigorously attacked by mainstream media because they view him as competition.”
“Because how is it that this guy in his garage is doing podcasts that make him much more money than news reporting. Meanwhile, the rest with Ivy League degrees and prestigious legacy media publications are getting downsized, it's quite unfair,” he said.
In Uganda, news publications such as the Kampala Sun have since gone fully digital with the evolution of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Tiktok while others are hinging more on online reader subscriptions.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, Sarah and Lesham every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.