From USA Today:
The Financial Times, in a considered piece the other day, has, if there was any doubt, pronounced the newspaper business deader than a doornail. But its more advanced point was pronouncing the digital news business at the point of death, too.
In the past six years the print newspaper business in the U.S. has shrunk by more than half, in the U.K., according to the FT, by one-third, precipitating the announcement last week of the closing after 30 years of the print edition of Fleet Street upstart the Independent. But the effort to reinvent the business online — in the mantra of publishing, “digital is the future” — presents, if possible, an even bleaker picture. Despite the online world’s crowing about advertising growth, and the belief of many publishers that online ad revenue would surely replace offline, the per-view price of a digital ad continues to drop, and ever-more ad dollars are concentrated with Google and Facebook. Now, to boot, there are ad blockers: nobody ever has to see a digital ad.
. . . .
The passing enthusiasm for paywalls as an alternative revenue stream has, other than for a few must-have titles, produced scant revenue as well as falling readership and a collapsing brand awareness for many newspapers.
. . . .
In other words, while neither consumers nor advertisers will pay enough for news to cover its costs in print form, they won’t cover the costs in digital either. Immediacy and efficiency and searchability and connectedness have not proved to be any more valuable than the slow delivery of yesterday’s news.
. . . .
At present, the FT concludes, there is no viable economic model for a written news product.
Link to the rest at USA Today and thanks to Shelly for the tip.
Technology disruption tends to squeeze costs out of products and services that experts regarded as low-cost already.
While PG grew up loving to read printed newspapers and still receives a couple of physical papers each morning, he’s an outlier and, on many days, doesn’t read them. Sometime soon, he’s likely to look at a renewal notice and decide to spend his money elsewhere. PG’s internet provider is set up on autopay so he’s never so much as a day late with his payment.
But, of course, newspapers aren’t special snowflakes like printed books.