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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:59 pm
 


The Scariest Thing About the Newspaper Business Isn't Print's Decline, It's Digital's Growth

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Emma Gardner of the Economist Group presents a visual look back at digital publishing in 2012. No visual struck me more than the graph below showing the extent of devastation to newspaper print ad sales since 2006: $20 billion in annual revenue, down the drain. In that time, digital ad growth has erased only 2% of the losses. How dreadful. [Quarterly figures below.]

Where did the digital money go? It went to new online marketplaces, and apps, and sites. And Google. Yeah, basically the money went to Google. In 2006, Google made $60 billion less than U.S. newspapers and magazines. Now it makes more ad money than all of U.S. print media combined. Wow.

Image

The scariest thing to comprehend here isn't that print is dead. Print newspapers aren't dead. They make $20 billion a year off ads. The issue isn't readership, either. More people pay for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times today than they did ten years ago, if you count digital subscriptions. That's not dead, and it's not the scariest thing about the newspaper business.

Look at that first chart again.

The scariest thing about the newspaper business is the idea that digital newspaper advertising is theoretically "alive" and "the future" even though it's growing at 1/50th the pace of print's decline. In the last five years, we've basically figured out one big thing about digital advertising -- the power of search -- while banner ads, native ads, and sponsored ads, and other non-search-advertising innovations haven't been rich enough to pay for anything except the most shoe-string of journalism budgets. Basically, the digital ad business for newspapers stinks. And if it continues its pathetic rate of growth, four things will happen.

First, many papers will erect pay-walls to beg for online subscribers. Second, many newspapers will discover their content is not distinguishing enough to justify digital subscribers and the pay-walls will flop. Third, many newspapers will continue to face newsroom and frequency cuts (e.g. going to three days a week). Fourth, many newspapers will die. They won't die because Google attacked and killed them. They'll die because newspapers have always been an indirect cross-subsidy of soft-news advertising paying for hard-news journalism. Online search simply offers a more direct way to advertisers to reach those soft-news readers.


http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... _199926079


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:09 pm
 


Newspapers are also dying off because they're no longer the sole-source of information for most people. Look at CKA. How many of us come here for news? I know I do because I see things on CKA I will *never* see in the mainstream US media. The rest of the world doesn't exist to them.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:34 pm
 


I get pretty much all of my prime source news through the Google news aggregator or a few other topic specific news feeds these days. I still read a paper when I'm in a restaurant from time to time but usually it isn't anything i haven't already heard about.

I don't expect this will change much for most people. I'm not sure how hard journalism will funded in the future but I hope it finds a way.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:00 pm
 


BartSimpson wrote:
Newspapers are also dying off because they're no longer the sole-source of information for most people. Look at CKA. How many of us come here for news? I know I do because I see things on CKA I will *never* see in the mainstream US media. The rest of the world doesn't exist to them.


True that. Same thing in Canada. I'd start buying newspapers again if there was anything like news in it. Whatever happened to that "investigative" journalism stuff we used to hear about?

I mean like right now. I pick up the paper, and they tell me some fat lady is squatting on an iceberg in the middle of the Ottawa river, or something. Apparently she's inventing a new diet, or something (doesn't seem to be working) in protest of something - not sure what. The newspapers appear to be upset about this, but if I want the facts and figures about why exactly the fat lady is complaining I have to go in the internet, and search around.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:13 pm
 


N_Fiddledog wrote:
BartSimpson wrote:
Newspapers are also dying off because they're no longer the sole-source of information for most people. Look at CKA. How many of us come here for news? I know I do because I see things on CKA I will *never* see in the mainstream US media. The rest of the world doesn't exist to them.


True that. Same thing in Canada. I'd start buying newspapers again if there was anything like news in it. Whatever happened to that "investigative" journalism stuff we used to hear about?

I mean like right now. I pick up the paper, and they tell me some fat lady is squatting on an iceberg in the middle of the Ottawa river, or something. Apparently she's inventing a new diet, or something (doesn't seem to be working) in protest of something - not sure what. The newspapers appear to be upset about this, but if I want the facts and figures about why exactly the fat lady is complaining I have to go in the internet, and search around.



If you get close enough....you might hear the fat lady sing.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:15 pm
 


That's an interesting analysis. I don;'t think the paywall thing will work, for the reasons indicated. I rarely buy papers anymore. Most of the news in there, I really don't care about, and what I do care about isn't worht the price of the paper.

I like magazines, and will continue to buy those in those, at least in the short term, but my, aren't they getting expensive. Didn't get much change from a $20 when I bought The Economist and New Scientist before a flight the other day.

The downside, I think, is the continuation of the post-objective world. We used to read the same papers and that offered, at least, a basis for discussion of controversial issues. Nowadays you get completely dialogues for people on opposite ends of the political spectrum and they end up, in essence, living in completely different realities.

But there will fortuantely always be journalism out there for people who want to think, as opposed to be told what to think.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:23 pm
 


Zipperfish wrote:
But there will fortuantely always be journalism out there for people who want to think, as opposed to be told what to think.


You have to go looking for it and it sadly changes from day to day.

The Wall Street Journal, for instance, can typically be trusted to separate their newsroom from their editorial page. But even they've been noted to have killed stories that were critical of their advertisers.

In Sacramento, for instance, you will be hard pressed to find a story critical of car dealers or real estate developers. They're the big advertisers in the region and it doesn't matter how corrupt they are, the local TV stations and the Sacramento Bee won't report on them unless the LA Times or the San Francisco Examiner breaks the story first.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:25 pm
 


well for a long time we had town criers. Newsreaders who would give the news to the people. Of course - if you didn't have the time to be there when it was read then you had to hear from someone else. not entirely convenient.

Then the printing press came along, and suddenly it was possible for someone to create a more effective means of conveying information and the whole 'town crier' thing died off. People could read the news whenever they wanted.

Now the internet is doing the same thing to paper print. It's more convenient, and it's much easier to verify the facts of a story or learn more about various elements of a story or see what other people think of the story and gain new perspectives and discuss it. (which is why we're here in this forum right?)

Newspapers have to drop the 'newspaper' idea and adapt. There will likely always be a place for it, some people will always rather have paper for their news and magazines. But - if they want to make real money they have to adapt and come up with a new model that really gives people what they want and still allows for advertising.

If the major newspaper chains got together and offered a 20 dollar subscription to ALL their newspapers, and then put more effective advertising in their products (perhaps geared to other information to push ads i'm more likely to be interested in) then I'd buy into that. But - im sure as heck not paying 5 or 10 or 20 dollars to access ONE online paper.


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