Flipboard and the evolution of printed media

The introduction of the Internet wreaked havoc for many industries, but most notably the retail and manufacturing sector. If changes like this have taught us anything, it’s the way we adapt to it that makes all the difference.

Ask most people whether or not they think newspapers will be around in 20 or even 15 years, and most would probably say no. The newspaper of the 21st century is a website. We need to look no further than the Australian Financial Review, owned by Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ), and its recent push into the digital space, creating applications for mobile and tablets users and charging a digital subscription.

Today, it was revealed Rupert Murdoch and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks will be visiting Australia over Easter, after Murdoch’s The Sun announced it will start charging users for online access. After a hard year in 2012, News Corporation’s (NASDAQ: NWS)(ASX: NWS) share price has returned a gain of over 50% to Australian investors’ portfolios.

Flipboard, the world’s first social magazine, poses another threat to printed media companies. The app (worth an estimated $200 million) enables users to scroll through websites and simply press the [+] button to start creating professional, custom magazines. Owned by some of the biggest tech and media innovators including Jack Dorsey co-founder of Twitter, Dustin Moskovitz co-founder of Facebook  (NASDAQ: FB), Ashton Kutcher, and The Chernin Group, this app must have some real potential.

The company has remained largely independent despite some big acquisition interest but figuring out a solid business model will be key to the company’s future success.

Foolish takeaway

Companies need to adapt to change, embracing and creating innovative ways to spin off the effect the internet has had on modern business. Since November Fairfax Media Limited’s share price has risen from $0.38 to $0.635, a 67% gain. Clearly, investors are happy Fairfax continues to embrace the technology revolution.

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More reading

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not own shares in any of the mentioned companies.

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