Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Newspapers Are Still Dying, But the News Is Not Going Anywhere

Despite newspaper share prices seeing a 380% increase in the last year, don’t be swayed by the perceived recovery. The only way for newspapers to survive is by investing resources into innovation online.

Experiments are needed that not only challenge and test the behaviors of news consumption with digital and interactive forms of storytelling, but perhaps more importantly, business models are needed that are not limited to a silver-bullet hope that building a wall around their content will save them. With the exception of the few, the chances of pay walls generating revenue from readers who have grown accustomed to free content online are grim. Newspaper companies that continue to treat their websites as a dumping ground for news from their print product will meet their eventual demise.

While many in the industry were hoping the decline in ads was cyclical, the ad rebound has skipped newspapers. As Alan Mutter reported last week, ad spending on newspapers was down 9.7% (magazines were down as well), while Internet() ad spending had increased 7.5%, as did TV (up 10.5%) and radio ads (up 6%). The future doesn’t look any better for print, with Internet ad revenue set to overtake newspapers by 2014 or possibly sooner.

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