Internet Won't Save The Newspaper Business Anytime Soon

from the not-gonna-happen dept

There’s no doubt that newspapers are desperate to profit from their online activities, as the outlook for their traditional business is not promising. In this most recent quarter newspaper companies were eager to tout their online growth as evidence that their successfully making the transition. But it could be a long time before internet operations can really sustain these businesses, make that a really long time. A new report estimates that it could take 30 years before online revenue accounts for even 50% of total sales. The message is clear: simply trying to grow the online divisions in hopes that they’ll replace the core business is a losing strategy. As such, the only way these company can continue grow is if they develop new strategies that go beyond simply moving the newspaper content online.

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Comments on “Internet Won't Save The Newspaper Business Anytime Soon”

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iRule says:

Newspapers need to make their websites more attractive. Look at web design strategies for the major players (Yahoo, google, etc.) and create something that looks, and functions similarly. Currently, local newspaper sites are too cluttered and look thrown together. Online forums are nice too. The Arizona Daily star has a nice “Digg-style” forum to comment on each and every article. Permanently keeping articles in their original location, for users posting links, would be nice too. Certain changes should result in greater page view stats and increase ad income, hopefully. Unfortunately, cost cutting in certain areas may be required. I hope not. There are a number of sources, NY Times, USA Today, BBC to get US and World news. Sometimes it can be really nice to read local news. I hope they survive, and I hope ads pay for it…because I won’t. Sad, but true.

haydn (profile) says:


I find myself thinking about what I’m doing on the web when I read newspapers and blogs. My hunch is I’m not so much reading as getting into the flow, seeing who is saying what – so a headline will do – and why, who agrees or disagrees, chipping in, moving on. That change in reading habits is what newspapers don’t respond to well or service.,

Earonc says:

Internet Won't Save The Newspaper Business Anytime

Curious enough, I keep reading that newspapers are loosing subscribers but each weekend I find a local paper at the end of my driveway. Funny thing, I didn’t subscribe to it and it isn’t even for the county I live in (and I am certainly not that close to the county border). I’ve always wondered if that was due to the fact they may wish to inflate their distribution stats?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I will read a paper but I do find it far more useful to do so from my laptop. I don’t have to pay to have them carted off by the garbage company for one thing. I would think that the local paper could cut considerable distribution costs and printing costs by making the content accessible on-line too. It would be far easier to search for news I actually find interesting if a search feature was included.

As an advertiser, I would be able to get far more details about how many people actually viewed my advertisements if logfiles could be processed for stats instead of simply being quoted how many subscriptions a newspaper has or the number of papers distributed. Those numbers don’t come close to telling me how many people actually looked my advertisement, only how many newspapers they may have dumped at the end of someone’s driveway….

Bill Simpson says:

Newspapers and the Internet

You know if the newspapers would quit trying to be liberal mouth pieces and running toilet paper stories then maybe they would get back some creditabilty they have loss.
Far to many times we nothing but NEGATIVE NEGATIVE , Bash Bush, Bash Miltary, Bash Conservatives, and then they have audacity to print such sad sob stories about criminals have to pay the price for their crimes.

As far as I am concern I will jump for joy when papers like the Washington Compost and the NY Slime are bankrupt- because morally and eithacally they have been that way for along time now….

Greg says:

More Bush Bashing Needed.

I know that when I read an article on installing a sprinkler system or what stock to by what I need is more anti-bush ranting. There is just not enough in the papers for me. So maybe they could just substitute any valuable content online with the words “bush sucks” and just print page after page of that text. That should sell lots of papers and advertisements. Just get the “Fluff out” and print more anti-american and anti-bush rants. Its working so far isnt it?

Ted Shelton (user link) says:

Rethinking newspapers

Full disclosure – I am partisan as I am building a new kind of online newspaper at http:/ — with that said a couple of comments:

The Merrill Lynch report mentioned ignores a lot of other good research in the field. One person I spoke with recently suggested that the tipping point for print newspapers will come within the next 10 years — that is, the point at which ad and subscription revenue will no longer cover the cost of print and distribution. The point is that the idea that it will take 30 years ignores the technological trends — both online and with things like e-books.

The bigger problem that newspapers have is adapting to the new dynamics of the Internet, of which there are two that they critically keep missing —

(1) the decentralization of content production which, while enhancing the importance of editors, makes owning the creation of content a dis-economy of scale (or more correctly, changed the nature of what is scaling). To be more clear – creating your own content makes you think that you should feature your own content. Get over it and feature the content that is best (most accurate, highest quality, relevant at the moment).

(2) the audience is no longer just listening — they are part of the conversation, and they often know more than your writers and editors. Get them engaged.

I call this post-industrial media. But then again, I am biased. This is what my business plan is based on.

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