Death Spiral

Declines in print advertising revenues are accelerating quarter over quarter:

3Q07: -7.4%
4Q07: -10.3%
1Q08: -12.85%
2Q08: -15.11%
3Q08: -18.11%

One can bet that this 4Q08 will be even worse. Does this mean that the newspaper industry won't survive the Recession of '08-'09?

Seems that way.

On-line advertising spend is also shrinking, though I would say that such declines are the result of the general economic environment. Print declines, on the other hand, are structural.

That being said, newspaper content doesn't help much. Now that we have a partisan media, newspapers will either restructure to reflect the demand for their particular partisan audiences, or disappear.

As such, one might guess that the New York Post will be selling on the streets of New York long after the New York Times is merged into the web site of ABC News (as I predicted here).

It will be a brave new world without newspapers. No preening print journos at White House pressers. No hit pieces splashed across pages across the country expressly designed to influence elections. Power out of the hands of the few and into the hands of the many. How that makes the politicians act will be interesting to see.

My guess is that politicians won't change much.


Terry Cowgill

6:40 PM

Agree in general about the decline of print journalism.

But I hope lots of newspapers will survive as online entities. especially smaller community-oriented papers.

Large corporate new aggregators will not be able to deliver on the local level.

Two realizations have to occur:

1) Readers will have to come to the conclusion that only a newspaper (or the like) can deliver local items of interest, including obits, school honor rolls, and coverage of the town government, school boards and high school sports.

2)Advertisers will have to realize that the web is where the eyes are. Currently advertisers are not doing that the rate you would expect, given the evaporation of print readers, but when print editions fall all over the country, they will.

Only then will newspaper style reporting be profitable. I'm hoping everything will fall into place in time, or coverage of local news will be relegated to message boards, blogs and there will be no more honest journalism.

This is depressing ...


7:40 PM

I was thinking the other day...

Why not set up a national obit site? Link to published obits. Make the site where people can memorialize their loved ones. Be the "Classmates" of obits.

Hey, every other part of the newspaper has found a new home. Why not obits?

Entrepreneurs... have a go!

Terry Cowgill

4:18 PM

Sounds like a good idea. Know where I can get some venture capital?