Today’s New York Times reports of the continued slide in newspaper advertising revenues which are down 12% for the year and more than that for May. The most concerning aspect of this report is the fact that those who are charged with understanding the direction of the slide admit to under-rating the velocity of change downward.
“Never in my most bearish dreams six months ago did I think we’d be talking about negative 15 percent numbers against weak comps,” said Peter S. Appert, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. “I think the probability is very high that there will be a number of examples of individual newspapers and newspaper companies that fall into a loss position. And I think it’s inevitable that there will be closures in this industry, and maybe bankruptcies.”
Declining sales of printed papers and rising newsprint prices have also hurt the business.
Our own Charleston Post and Courier just switched to a smaller width newsprint.
Online ad revenues are reported to have climbed in prior years but to be falling off in the current year, however, they are still advancing against print placement revenue.
The voices of the blogger, the Twitterer and online readers are heard electronically. I wonder if there is a drop off in the volume of letters to the editor since now, we don’t need a print forum?
Do you think newspapers will be successful in selling subscriptions for online versions? The Post and Courier is trying to do that. I wonder how many people will sign up for that? Advertisers get to display their ads as part of the online system for the Post and Courier, but one has to know that the ads are in the shopping section. You would think that the ads might be labeled as “To see ads from today’s paper, click here.” Now, you have to just know that you click shopping to find the ads.
With regard to selling online subscriptions of newspapers, remember what mothers of the 1950s said? “If you give away the milk, who wants to buy the cow?” I wonder, is it the same here?
Tell me, do you read the local newspaper where you live? Follow this link to an on-line survey. Click Here to take survey