Newsstands' futher: service providers

CNC
Added On September 17, 2013

With new media developing fast, people have easier access to information.

In China, more choose to surf on the internet than turn to newsstands to buy newspapers and magazines.

The future for newsstands appears gloomy.

But experts say, with a few changes, newsstands could become useful service providers for people.

Mrs Zhang has been the owner of a newsstand for 15 years in Hangzhou, the capital of China’s southeastern Zhejiang Province.

In recent years, she has worried about poor business.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) MRS ZHANG, Newsstand Owner
"Newspapers and magazines don't sell well. The business is much worse than 10 years ago."

Zhang told CNC that even 5 years ago, she could sell several hundred newspapers. But now her income means she struggles to make ends meet.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) MRS ZHANG, Newsstand Owner
"Only a few kinds of 'Evening Papars' sell well and 'Express' isn't a bad seller. Apart from 'Reference News', other newspapers are doing a bad job. And since magazines sell terribly, it's almost impossible for newsstands to survive."

Zhang said she knew why the sales volume dropped sharply.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) MRS ZHANG, Newsstand Owner
"I guess it's the impact of the Internet. Searching on the internet is faster and cheaper. Why would anyone buy a magazine?"

Citizens in Hangzhou share their views on why they seldom go to a newsstand.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) MR LI, Citizen
"I hardly buy newspapers at a newsstand because it's inconvenient. I can get information through a computer."

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) MR FENG, Citizen
"Usually I use my cell phone or the Internet to get information. I used to buy magazines, but now I rarely do."

To solve the crisis, Zhang said she once wanted to add online service to her current newsstand business but failed. Local authorities are now trying to make her newsstand an integrated platform for citizens.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) MRS ZHANG, Newsstand Owner
"Postal companies have suggested we add new services like allowing customers to pay bills. We are now converting into service-orientated providers."

Doctor Ye Qiongfeng, from Zhejiang University's College of Media and International Culture, told CNC that thanks to the growing pace of Internet and mobile applications such as China's Weibo, similar to Twitter, and instant messaging tool Wechat, people have much easier access to all kinds of information.

He says the development of new technology has also enabled Chinese people to change their traditional reading habits.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) YE QIONGFENG, College of Media and International Culture, Zhejiang University
"Considering the large numbers of farmers China has, many of them have already stepped into the cell phone era before they learn to develop traditional reading habits. So the number of traditional media readers has seen a sharp decline. "

Experts say the future of newsstands lies in their transformation into service-orientated carriers.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) YE QIONGFENG, College of Media and International Culture, Zhejiang University
"By enhancing the services provided by newsstands, they can gradually convert to an important part of the community. The development of all forms of the media are the same, they adapt to the new world. If they can be successfully transformed, they will thrive."