More on the ‘Newspaper Death Watch’

Blake Rutherford rounds up the latest press on falling daily newspaper circulation and notes Advertising Age’s “Newspaper Death Watch” piece we noted in passing the other day. He also finds an interesting guestimate from Henry Blodget on where all that print newspaper advertising money’s going to go, and guess what? Most of it ain’t coming back to “newspapers,” whatever form they take.

Newspaper web sites are only capturing a fraction of the print revenue the papers are losing, and the growth of newspaper sites has already started to slow. As the chart below shows, in 2007, the industry lost 8%, or $4 billion of advertising including newspaper web sites. Newspaper sites will capture a small portion of that new $30 billion Digital pie, but probably not much more than $5 billion. Some newspaper companies will survive, but only after major restructuring.

That’s because newspapers didn’t act quickly enough in the early days of the Web, and they let innovative little Web sites (that enjoyed all the great economies of scale the Internet offers) basically take all the little services newspapers provide — including classifieds and jobs listings — and make them better, easier to use and more relevant to people. Just check out who’s included among the companies Blodget says will get most of that old print newspaper ad money: “Google, Yahoo, Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, job sites …”

So what can newspapers do? Here’s how newspapers must start thinking (from my comment on Rutherford’s blog):

The first step to that new model is seeing themselves not as newspapers, but news content providers working across all media. The content and data they create must live a dozens of separate lives across multiple media channels. Despite the horror unfolding throughout the industry, this really should be an exciting time for its practitioners, who are getting the chance to remake their job descriptions and find new ways to tell stories and share information.

Of course that says nothing about how this new breed of news providers will monetize their operation — and that’s the real head-scratcher, isn’t it? But the prospect of more money coming to the Web is encouraging, and the industry must be there, in some form, when more of it arrives.

links for 2008-04-30

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Circulation Falls (Updated)

We pondered the latest daily newspaper circulation figures yesterday without yet knowing what the numbers for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette were. Now we know.

According to the newspaper:

The state’s largest newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, slipped by 0. 4 percent Monday through Friday, to 182, 212 from 183, 034, after showing a slight increase in that category for the year-earlier period.

Average Sunday circulation for the more than 500 dailies that report to the agency fell 4. 6 percent compared with the year earlier period, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said Monday.

Sunday circulation at the Democrat-Gazette fell 0. 7 percent, to 274, 494 from 276, 310. Saturday circulation at the newspaper fell 0. 5 percent, to 179, 747 from 180, 698.

Noting the plunge in circ that other major metros reported during this latest six-month survey period, Paul Smith, the Democrat-Gazette’s president and general manager, said the paper was pleased with its performance and noted that the paper is again No. 1 in “city zone” penetration.

Walter Hussman, the DG publisher who this month was named Editor & Publisher magazine’s Publisher of the Year, had some interesting comments. Hussman has criticized many newspapers’ Web strategies, saying that it’s a mistake to give away news online for free. Most content on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Web site remains locked down to print subscribers — even the Associated Press content you can get most anywhere else for free.

More on Hussman’s comments and DG circ after the jump.

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links for 2008-04-29

Editor & Publisher: Newspaper Circulation Down Again

In Editor & Publisher’s piece this morning on the latest large metro daily newspaper circulation numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, you’ll notice lots of words like, “plunged,” “fell” and “lost.”

First, the lead:

Print circulation continues on its steep downward slide, the Audit Bureau of Circulations revealed this morning in releasing the latest numbers for some of the country’s largest dailies in the six-month period ending March 31, 2008. When a full analysis appears it is expected to find, according to sources, the biggest dip yet, about 3.5% daily and 4.5 for Sunday.

Once again, declines in daily newspaper circulations is the norm. Almost all the major newspaper you can think of — the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News — saw lower numbers for weekday and Sunday circulation.

But there were some gainers:

Meanwhile, daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal grew a fraction of a percent, up 0.3% to 2,069,463 copies. USA Today experienced a greater increase. Circulation was up at the national daily 0.27%* to 2,284,219.

and

Daily circulation at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch plunged 8.5% Monday-Friday to 255,057. However, the paper managed to grow its Sunday circulation by 1.6% to 414,564.

and finally

Good news in Baltimore: The Sun made a slight gain in daily circulation, up 0.1% (about 200 copies) to 232,360. Sunday circulation was down slightly 1.2% to 372,970.

Somehow, we doubt a 0.1 percent Sun rise is comforting David Simon. But we digress.

Other notable newspapers and their numbers, as well as notes on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, after the jump.

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links for 2008-04-28

links for 2008-04-26