Newspaper Readership Continues Steep Decline

As regular readers of this blog know, we have a great interest in what’s happening to the newspaper industry so we regularly surf over to www.newspaperdeathwatch.com for current information.   Today we found an insightful Investor’s Daily Piece called “Black and Blue and not Read All Over.”

Reacting to the current reports about financial woes for newspapers, the article noted that readership had been on the wane since the 1970s when about 80% of the adult population received a daily paper but now readership is below 48%.   Legacy media has been slow to leverage its brand and build on opportunities such as the Internet and local news.   National and international happenings are old news by the time it hits your doorstep in the morning and it is a commodity for small town dailies since there are so many instant outlets these days.  But local news is an area where there is still a market and publishers could strengthen their products by leveraging that  opportunity.   As newspaper readership declined, so has advertising. Advertisers will spend $40 billion in newspapers ads this year, down 18.6% from 2007.  Print products can restructure for the digital world where there is a 24/7 news cycle for the national and international news, but “like a reporter on deadline, the clock is ticking” the article notes.

It’s a good piece full of insightful quotes and informaiton.  Here’s the link if you’re interested in it.

Here’s the link:  http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=5&issue=20081208

On that blog there was another piece indicating that some dailies will fail in 2009.  That post concluded that publishers should get used to managing print down for years to come as audience shifts to the Internet.  But that author has some suggestions:  make your newspaper a gateway to enhanced content on the web and start pushing your readers to the net; stop wasting time on fluffy lifesystle pieces since print loyalists want serious journalism.  And they want local news.

It really is all about the content.  I say take care of the content and everything else can be managed.

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