Newspapers Are A Dying Breed, Will You Miss Them?

    March 30, 2009

I don’t read the Raleigh News & Observer during the week, but I do enjoy reading it at the weekend. There’s something relaxing and familiar about reading printed news with my coffee and breakfast. As much as I enjoy the experience, I’ve noticed that more and more ads are filling up the pages–with less articles, and in some cases, complete sections being retired. I knew the newspaper industry was hurting, but I didn’t realize just how bad it had gotten, until I read this report from TechCrunch.

According to the latest industry figures, newspaper advertising is free-falling:

  • Print advertising declined 17.7% in 2008
  • Classifieds fell 29.7%
  • Online advertising–which most newspapers a focusing on–was down 1.8%

Overall, total newpaper advertising revenues were down 16.6% to $37.85 billion. When you look at the quarterly trends, you can quickly see that things are not likely to get better:

3Q07: -7.4%
4Q07: -10.3%
1Q08: -12.85%
2Q08: -15.11% 3
3Q08: -18.11%
4Q08: -19.74%

Why I’m so stunned by the huge numbers is because newspapers have aggressively added more advertising per page. I’ve sometimes flipped through 4 pages of nothing but ads, before finally getting to the next story.

Now, I’m not about to suggest the Obama administration send over a government bailout, but what would our world be like without printed newspapers? I, for one, I hope I’ll always be able to pick up a newspaper at the weekend, but it’s not looking like that will be an option 10 years from now.

How about you? Do you still read a printed newspaper? Will you miss them if the all close down?

PS? Below is the soundtrack for the newspaper industry. ;-)