Print Newspapers Losing Readers Dramatically

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You’ve got to feel a little bad for the long established industry of print newspapers.  Newspapers are dramatically losing readers all over the U.S. and dozens of newspapers have gone bankrupt, closed their doors, or are up for sale at garage sale prices.  But the problem is compounded by the devastating loss of advertisers.  Advertisers have simply left the building.

Disney made a children’s comedy many years ago entitled, “Honey I Shrunk The Kids.”  I think we’re due for another movie, only it should be called, “Honey I Shrunk The Classifieds,” or “Honey I Shrunk The Newspaper.”

We might find some humor in this situation, at least for those of us who don’t depend on a print newspaper for a paycheck.  The truth is, this is a disaster for the many employees who work at newspapers, and you can expect layoffs and “cost savings measures” to be announced by many newspapers in the coming months.  It is unfortunate for the individuals and families who are adversely effected, but free enterprise waits for no one, and economic progress does have its sharp edges.

It also has incredible advances which promote the general welfare of consumers, and with every business that fails because it has outlived its usefulness to society, new and exciting businesses develop to fill the gap and meet the greatest needs.  Online newspapers are one effort to fill this gap, but the content and the business model is not at all like traditional print newspapers.  They are different creatures.  Since I’m writing for an online newspaper right now, I should say, “We are a horse of a different color, dramatically different than the content and approach of the old newspaper industry.”

Consumers have laid down their demands, and old newspapers just don’t fit the bill anymore.  The Audit Bureau of Circulations said Monday that average sales of newspapers declined 7.1 percent in the October-March period from the same six-month span in 2007-2008.  This statistic is carefully developed and includes a large group of newspapers.  The data is drawn from 395 daily U.S. newspapers that reported in both periods.

This the most severe downturn since newspaper circulation began to fall apart sometime in the early 1990’s. This trend has been accelerating during the recession of the past 16 months.  Total U.S. newspaper circulation dropped 4.6 percent in the April-September period of 2008 after dropping 3.6 percent in the October 2007-March 2008 period.

On the other hand, this online newspaper is seeing dramatic growth every week.  Consumers always have been the driving force of new and creative business opportunities, and  the explosive growth of online news and entertainment is the result of consumer demand and preferences.

For a more detailed chronological recent history of the death of print newspapers, read Print Newspapers Dying Slow Death.

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