Have you seen the news?

Most of us see it, some hear it and yet others read it.

Breaking news: more Americans now get news from social media than print newspapers. It’s probably true for the rest of us as well.

According to a recent Pew Research Centre study newspapers and magazines have slumped to the fifth position with only about 16 percent of us relying on this form of communication in 2018. This is down from 20 percent just two years ago.

49 percent of us still prefer to get our news from television, w

hich is the number one channel. Nevertheless this is a decline from the 57 percent of us who preferred television two years ago. Radio, which holds the third position, is unchanged with 26 percent of us still preferring this mode to receive our news. I guess many of us like to listen to the news during our daily commute to and from the office.

A significant more of us, however, are using news websites than before and now one in three of us prefer this channel, which has strengthened its number two position.

Social media has climbed into fourth position and is expected to continue to grow in popularity as it has done since the last survey in 2016.

When looking at online news use combined – the percentage of those who get news often from either news websites or social media – the web has closed in on television as a source for news (43% of adults get news often from news websites or social media, compared with 49% for television).

The rise in social media has pushed newspapers and magazines into fifth position. Print media continues to decline. In short, news websites and social media are on the rise and hard copy and television are on the decline.

Being a news information agency is an important role for RT Media as it is for me personally. Sharing news builds trust and relationship with your key audiences. Here at RT Media our mission is to educate, inform and nurture our global audience. It is a mission we take seriously.

But these recent Pew results challenge the very heart of how we share the news and information with you. Twelve years ago, when we got started, you wanted your news and information in a hard copy magazine. Today, news has become a very small part of our magazine, because tens of thousands of you are getting your news from us mainly on WeChat, LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter as well as the website. You get it immediately when you are ready to go looking for it.

Of course television is changing dramatically too. More and more people are streaming YouTube on the television set and Netflix and Amazon on-demand video streaming services are taking over our living rooms. But more change is coming. Facebook has already become the second most popular video sharing platform after YouTube and there are rumors that Facebook will become an all-video platform in less than five years.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I remember my parents buying our first television set. It was black and white. It was 1968 and I remember watching the 1969 lunar landing on it. We had television, radio and newspapers in the day. That was it. There was no home computer, no internet, no social media and no mobile phone. Getting the news was still a priority but there was a simpler choice of channels.

Your media habits have changed, as have mine. But let’s not get too settled in our lounge chairs with the smorgasbord we have because one thing is for certain: change is continuing to come.

To Be? Or Not to Be? … But that’s NOT the Question

I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat at the debate of the year. The Aftermarket has become all bitter and twisted over the conflict between remanufactured cartridges and new-built cartridges.

Why? Because new-built cartridges, often referred to as NBCs, are capturing a lion’s share of the market previously enjoyed by remanufactured cartridges.

Actually, as role of moderator for the debate, which was televised live as a Facebook event, I witnessed the very best the global industry had to offer on the arguments for and against. Six of the sharpest industry minds were all in one place at one time to provide their opinions on the topic.

U.S.-based Clover Imaging Group can take credit for bringing the debate out into the open. They are unquestionably the largest remanufacturer in the world with factories in Mexico, Vietnam, the U.S. and elsewhere. They issued a white paper back in May declaring remanufactured cartridges to be the only legally-safe, quality solution for the Aftermarket. It was a position the new-built cartridge sector was never going to leave unchallenged.

Facing a shortage of supply of empty cartridges some years ago, the crafty Chinese looked for a workaround solution. Like they always do. It’s in the DNA of the Chinese to do so. In this case, they simply copied the OEM core, which is the missing ingredient necessary to build a NBC. These copycat cartridges became known as “clones.” Just like Dolly the sheep, they were identical in every way to the OEM original.  However, “clone” quickly became a derogatory term for these patent-infringing products that were unfairly disrupting the level playing field.

I was a remanufacturer myself back in the 1990s, and owned my own business in Sydney, Australia. I was fully aware that the OEMs disliked the Aftermarket. They introduced “killer chips” and other technological or marketing impediments to thwart the Aftermarket as we captured more of their supplies market. Then they started to sue remanufacturers for infringing their intellectual property rights (IPRs) with limited success.  The right to repair protected the remanufacturers somewhat, but many settled with the OEMs anyway when confronted with onerous litigation.

The advent of the NBCs in recent years has caused the OEMs to scrutinize this new Aftermarket attempt to capture their market. However, NBCs were capturing market share from the remanufacturers as well. Consequently, OEMs and remanufacturers have been recently positioned as strange bedfellows in an attempt to stave off this new NBC threat. Now, the OEMs have sued manufacturers and dealers of NBCs alike for allegedly infringing their patents. The remanufacturers cheered them on.

Some debaters argued remanufacturing is the best solution for helping to conserve our planets’ resources. No one can argue with that, particularly given the manufacturers of NBCs are doing little to reuse or recycle their products. No one wants to argue against the environment.

Other debaters, however, claimed consumers are not driven to buy cartridges for environmental reasons. They simply favor a cheaper alternative to new, expensive OEM supplies. Price solely drives consumer choice, they argued. In terms of cartridge quality, some Chinese manufacturers are now delivering NBCs that can compete with OEM products. The market will ultimately determine the winners.

However, I have another view. The argument should not be about remanufactured vs. NBC products. To be… or not to be? This is NOT the question.

The Aftermarket should be asking: “Is it infringing? Or is it not infringing?”

I met with industry leaders in 15 countries this year. In some places, the OEMs have registered patents, in other places they have not. Cartridge A may infringe IPRs in the USA, for example, but may not infringe in Russia. Not all markets are the same.

Cartridge remanufacturers were accused of infringing OEM IPRs for decades. Remanufacturers in the US, Europe and the UK were sued by Canon for simply snapping a dongle gear off a worn OPC drum and reusing it with a new OPC drum.

Both sectors within the Aftermarket will be targets if they infringe OEM patents. The current tension is not really about products that infringe. It should be.

What the Dickens?

What the Dickens is going on?

This unusual expression may well have been founded following English novelist Charles Dickens’ first visit to the USA back in 1842.

Dickens, who was just 30 at the time, was treated like a modern rock star but the trip soon turned sour. Oliver Twist and the Pickwick Papers had already made him the most famous writer in the world. However, Dickens became incensed at how Americans were plagiarising his works. Americans were reading his works for free in pirated editions.

In 1842, there were no international copyright laws in America. Today we would say the issue was over intellectual property rights. Dickens realised his popularity in the US could substantially increase his income if his American fans paid to read his works. “I am the greatest loser alive by the present law,” he complained.

Dickens argued that copyright law would help American writers as well. However, the American press turned on Dickens, labelling him as a vulgar money-grabber. The truth is many countries, including the United States, have ignored intellectual property rights in the past. US patent attorney Steve Adkins reminded me, however, that when a nation sees the merit and value in new ideas and inventions, they seek to preserve them, and pass laws accordingly.

And this is true for China too who only registered their first patent in 1985. Since that time, China has dominated the world in the number of patents, trademarks and industrial design filings. In case you missed it, China is rapidly morphing from a copier of products to an innovator and leader, and of course, wants to protect its patents and trademarks.

Aftermarket printer cartridges, for example, are not just illegal copies any more. Yes, the illegal copies still exist, however, there are a large, growing number of non-infringing new built cartridges being produced. Many companies now own their own intellectual property rights on their own cartridge designs that allegedly do not infringe. The printer OEMs must be wondering where the battle lines for market share are going to be fought in the future.

So, what the dickens will happen next?