Online media killing our businesses – Newspaper vendors lament

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday, they said that the infiltration of online media has led to a drastic reduction in sales of hard copies

They also cited the current economic challenges in the country as worsening the situation.

Mr Emmanuel Okeke, who said he has been in the business for over 30 years, described the situation as very bad.

“I have been in this business for over 30 years, built a house with it and married and raised children with the business but since I joined the business, I have never had it so bad.

“Things started declining as the online media crept into the business, as many of the readers now enjoy reading on their mobile phones,” he said.

Okeke said he was now relying more on the real estate business as an agent to feed his family.

A sales representative of one of the leading newspapers in Nigeria, told NAN on the condition of anonymity, that the lack of patronage was affecting even the company negatively.

“Before I used to receive 500 copies of the newspaper and sometimes you cannot find unsold at the end of the day but today I receive less than 100 copies and 70 per cent is unsold,” he said.

According to him, while the advent of online media started the declining fortunes of hard copies, the current hardship had worsened the whole situation.

“Since the advent of online media, people no longer read hard copies, before they see someone buying a newspaper unless he had an advert or change of name.

“The situation has been made worse by the current hardship, people prefer to use their money to find food than to read the newspaper; so, it’s as bad as that,” he said.

The rep also disclosed that the rising cost of printing materials also led to the declining fortunes of newspapers.

“Now newsprint used to cost ₦600,000 and ₦700,000 a rim but today it has risen to between ₦1.5 million and ₦1.6 million, due to the unstable foreign exchange market,” he said.

Another vendor, Mrs Agnes Ezeora, said that many newspapers that she was their agent in Enugu had gone online.

“All the papers have gone online and are no longer hard copies; so, I am just doing nothing at the moment.

“Before I used to go to the Airport daily for supply, I supply 50 copies of only This Day and supply other national dailies as well, but today I don’t go anywhere,” she said.

Ezeora said that she had resorted to selling provisions to make ends meet.

“I can no longer rely on the business, instead I am now combining it with the selling of provision store to survive,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many old vendors at the popular Edinburgh Street Enugu, have joined property and house agents to make ends meet.

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