(Via WSJ)Newspaper Circulation Continues Decline, Forcing Tough Decisions.The newspaper industry, already suffering from circulation problems, probably will show industrywide declines of 1% to 3%, - possibly the highest for daily newspapers since the industry shed 2.6% of subscribers in 1990-91.The biggest publishers may show the largest decline. The U.S. newspapers face the prospect of an accelerated drop in circulation. The slide is fueling an urgent industry discussion about whether the trend can be halted in a digital age and is forcing newspaper executives to rethink their traditional strategies.
Rather than simply trying to halt the decline, which can be done readily through discounts and promotions, they're being forced to try to "manage" their circulation in new ways. Some publishers are deliberately cutting circulation in the hope of selling advertisers on the quality of their subscribers. Others are expanding into new markets to make up for losses in their core markets. Some are switching to a tabloid format or giving away papers to try to attract younger readers. Others are pouring money into television and radio advertising and expensive face-to-face sales pitches to potential subscribers.
Daily circulation of American newspapers peaked in 1984 and had fallen nearly 13% to 55.2 million copies in 2003, according to the Newspaper Association of America.The losses come at a time when Americans have many news outlets that didn't exist 20 years ago, including cable-television news channels and Internet sites, as well as email and cellphone alerts. Many newspapers have substantial and free online sites offering much of what is in the printed paper. These sites might not hurt readership overall, but they can erode a newspaper's paying audience. At the same time, many newspapers have undercut the print product itself, trimming staff and coverage. They also have failed to figure out how to attract younger readers to their pages. The digital revolution is definitely challenging the media channels. Already the internet usage exceeds radio listeners numbers in the US and the trend of new media becoming the dominant media is getting stronger by the day.
We covered our views on the the future of news earlier.
Warren Buffet is a longstanding director and shareholder of The Washington Post "sees no clear way for papers to stem recent circulation declines or turn Internet operations into highly-profitable enterprises". The future of newspapers is to change from a news organization into a news community. Readers would like to do a lot more with news. They would like to see the different angles of a story. They would like to understand it. They would like to know what it means for them. They would like to know how to deal with the consequences. And they would like to know what others think. In other words, the news is the beginning of a process, it's not the end.
Category : Emerging Trends