Newspaper Ups & Downs
Is the glass half full or half empty? When you look at the newspaper business, it seems it can be viewed either way. On the positive side, online ad revenues for newspapers jumped 35 percent in Q1 according to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). At the same time, print advertising growth was flat, and newspapers make a lot more from their print advertising than their online advertising.
NAA President John Sturm commented, “Newspaper publishers are winning on the Web and their efforts to attract visitors, build leading Internet properties and monetize their online investments are being recognized by advertisers and consumers…Meanwhile, newspaper print advertising continues to hold its own in the face of overall ad softness, reflecting our industry’s ongoing dialogue with the advertising community to demonstrate the enduring value of newspapers’ reach and engagement with consumer audiences.” Basically, what is buried in all that PR talk is that the Internet is causing newspaper to adapt or die.
The Internet is profoundly altering many business models. Newspapers are another industry that will need to adjust to new realities. There will be struggles, but this is tough business with tough people. I have to agree with John Rogers, a columnist for Forbes: “All but a handful of the country’s 1,457 daily newspapers come with an economic moat surrounding them: It’s next to impossible for a newcomer to invade the territory of an established paper and gain a foothold. Despite the Internet’s ubiquity, I doubt digital giants like Google and Yahoo can ever replicate the depth of local coverage or level of trust found in a hometown paper. As long as print media control local content, they will distribute it.”