State of the Newspaper Biz

In the digital age, newspapers are continuing to suffer revenue declines. While people are spending more time consuming news, the media of choice is the web, which is gaining while other sectors are losing. The Internet is the place where 41% of Americans now get most of their news about national and international issues. In 2010 online news surpassed newspapers for the first time.

Every sector of news media saw revenues grow except newspapers, which is a sign that the structural problems of the print newspaper are more severe than any other media sector. While print circulation continues to decline, a hopeful sign is that losses are far less – in fact, losses in 2010 half those of 2010.

Regardless of what is generally believed, newspapers are still operating the black, although profit is less than a quarter of what it was before. With revenue decline, newspapers are surviving by managing costs. Ad revenue at newspapers is down a whopping 48% in four years. In general, newsrooms are substantially smaller than they were a decade ago and journalists stretched thinner.

For the first time, more money was spent last year on online advertising than on print newspaper advertising. Mobile news grew 79% in 2010. Half of Americans now get some form of local news on a mobile device, but it represents only 3% of the total news market.

While newspapers have been the content producers in the past, new media is beginning to develop original news gathering ability. Online publications, such as AOL’s Patch and Yahoo are growing. Older online media, AOL, has merged with young media, Huffington Post.

The future is in targeting content to the interests of users. News companies must now follow the rules of device makers, such as Apple and software developers like Google, to deliver their content. While they are attempting to adapt, the economic problems facing newspapers remain more severe than those of other media.
Source: The State of the News Media 2011
Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism
Annual Report

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