Monday, August 15, 2011

Ken Doctor - The Newsonomics of the Next Recession

Ken Doctor's latest piece for the Nieman Journalism Lab has a lot to say about the future of major urban dailies, if or when the next economic downturn occurs.  The piece is worth a read (linked below), but here's some of the bad news highlights.

  • Newspaper advertising revenues in the U.S. have declined for 22 consecutive quarters (that's 5 and a half years), and aren't much better in the U.K. or Japan.
  • Digital ad revenues are booming, but are not going to news sites
  • The digital transition remains in the early stages - no major publisher is getting more than 20% of revenues from digital
  • In a recession, the shift in advertising from print to digital should accelerate
  • The remaining portion of classified advertising that goes to newspapers "will crater"
  • The shift to digital reading may accelerate - with increased print subscription prices, should see shift to partial subscription packages that include online access.
  • Look for consolidation in newspapers, as media concentration is a logical consequence of economic stress
Doctor sees a recession as accelerating current trends, and continued speculation about what newspaper companies will fail next.  As he concludes,
The long game of change has gotten progressively shorter. Maybe, we’ll dodge a second recession in the short-term, but the game is the game, and publishers are simply running out of good choices. They’ve been dealt a deck of wild cards, misplayed a few hands and now have fewer chips left to play.

Source: "The Newsonomics of the Next Recession", Nieman Journalism Lab

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