Gwen Moritz: Newspapers Dead All Over?

Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz focuses today on Brummett-Fisher, the decline of newspapers and how we really never paid for news in the first place.

That reckoning we mentioned that’s going to have to take place between online news providers and advertisers? Well, you can tell that’s been a topic of conversation around our offices this week. Gwen states it more eloquently here:

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman, who brilliantly beat Gannett in the great Little Rock newspaper war, blames the newspaper industry for giving away its valuable news content on the Internet. But it seems to me that a far bigger mistake was in undervaluing online advertising, which in the Internet’s infancy was thrown in virtually free when advertisers bought print ads.

Advertising follows audience as day follows night, but the dollars are vaporizing as those ads migrate from print and broadcast to the Internet. The pay-per-click model may work for giant news aggregators like Yahoo and Google, but it won’t pay for the news they aggregate.

Sooner or later, the news industry will hit upon a business plan that is sustainable in the “Choose Your News” age. I don’t know exactly what it will look like, but I predict news organizations will learn to love much smaller profit margins and advertisers will learn to value the online audience as much as they do newspaper readers and TV viewers.

See the complete column here.

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2 Responses

  1. ComScore has just published a report titled “How Online Advertising Works: Whither The Click?” that could serve as an important milestone directing ROI measurement away from the click.

    It is a major mistake for online advertising to be measured by the click. It is a remnant of the birth of the web when businesses were fascinated by the new measurement possibilities.

    Consider this perspective: The creative that generates high click rates, rarely serves the branding needs of the advertiser. It is common knowledge that display ads are clicked by a very small audience. It is the same audience that will speak to telemarketers and the same audience that reads spam email and fills out publisher’s clearing house sweepstakes entries.

    So, as an adman, if my success is solely determined by the click-rate of my display ad, then my creative should just be a picture of a candy perched atop a pile of cash with a headline that reads “Click For Free Happiness!”

    Clicking is a metric, but it is far from the most valuable one.

    Advertising on the sites of local news sources has tremendous value. The metric that these businesses should promote is contextually relevant impressions.

  2. […] Journalism doesn’t have an access crisis. It has, like Shafer points out, an advertising crisis. Hm. That sounds familiar. […]

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