Posted March 30, 2009 11:07 am by with 24 comments

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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. 😉

  • My answer to the question:
    Yes, I will definitely miss the newspaper since this form of media has been one of the most informative and helpful tool. Computer could definitely replace its functionality but we have to preserve what we had before.

  • Very good video thanks for post

  • Thanks for the info, also.

  • The only remaining value for newspapers is that it is a perfect vehicle to deliver coupons…online couponing isn’t quite there yet.

  • Todd’s comment is dead-on. If advertisements were not printed in newspapers, there would be no newspapers. Guess what pays reporter salaries?

    Ari Herzog’s last blog post..A Roundup of My Washington Week

  • I, as well, love a printed newspaper and think this is horrible news. Heard the same thing from rerun of the daily show but also didn’t realize how much the numbers had dropped. I hope someone thinks of something!

  • I can’t imagine ever being in New York City and being in a cab or taking a subway ride without having the Post or Daily News in hand. Reading the news on your “smart phone” sounds too sterile. Trouble is that people who grew up with the newspaper age out there will be less and less outcry. Eventually it will fade away and give way to boutique newspapers that service small niche groups.

    Nothing like the NY Post though for it’s attention grabbing tabloid look!

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..The New Listening

  • ian

    I’ll miss them. Not purely because they’re on paper, but because they’re the only organizations left willing to invest in real journalism. TV news long ago abandoned any pretense of real investigation or thought. With the death of print news goes the revenue stream that drove real reporting.

  • I won’t miss them. I barely read them considering I only get one newspaper. I can read anything and everything all online. Google Reader is my best friend for news.

    Dustin’s last blog post..KFC Wants to Fix Potholes

  • Hey Andy, if you want to get an insiders look, we’d love to have you come visit us at McClatchy Interactive (the online side of McClatchy newspapers and parent of N&O and 30 other US daily papers) on the Raleigh/Cary line.

    Phil Buckley’s last blog post..Forcing Your Customers To Register

  • @Phil – thanks for the offer, I may take you up on that at some point.

  • Dean

    We think newspapers are here to stay!

    Horse and Buggies, 8 Tracks, and Abacus

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  • I’ll miss newspapers. I’m sure.
    Coz sometimes in the morning I don’t want to open my laptop, I like sitting in my chair with a cup of cofee on the table near me and reading a newspaper which smells of printing ink.

  • PS3

    I yes, I will surely miss them.

    There is nothing better, than a cup of coffee, sandwiches and a fresh newspaper in the morning.

    Love it, and online versions will never be the same.

  • I know what you mean. It’s hard to explain why exactly, but I too like picking up a real newspaper to read. I have a hard time reading online, and it just doesn’t feel like I’m getting news when I read it online, for some reason. It feels like I’m wasting time on the internet, while reading a print newspaper feels like I am doing something productive and learning about the world.

  • I’ll die without printed newspapers…And thankfully, the newspaper industry is nowhere near extinction here in India!

    Anand’s last blog post..Facebook Video Upload Statistics

  • I think the newspaper industry has no one but itself to blame for their woes. They have morphed into unapologetic advocacy when they should be presenting unadulterated facts. The consumers of news have voted with their dollars and are no longer willing to pay for opinion thinly disguised as “news”.

    That said, yes I will miss the feel and convenience of a real printed newspaper. It’s really hard to drag your laptop into the bathroom.

    Chris Wysocki’s last blog post..The New York Times spikes Obama donor story, and their credibility

  • Ian has it entirely right. If you think our politicians are dishonest now, imagine how they’d be without any big, institutional backing of reporting. At this point, anyway, the blogosphere is just too diffuse to get the job done.

    Janet’s last blog post..Now’s the time to learn food preservation

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  • There’s nothing quite like reading the newspaper on the weekends over a cup of coffee – it’s one of those classic things people do and it will be a sad day when everything we can read like that is through the internet! I think newspapers will always be around.

    Catherina’s last blog post..Ebay Work from Home

  • In Malta, the local papers add magazines e.g. some on the home. Is this done in the States? Even if you do not really read the paper in depth (skim), you always have the magazine.

    The Magazines pay to distribute their magazine with the papers and the newspapers gain by getting some revenue. Advertisers gain by getting more exposure.

    Infonote’s last blog post..FACEBOOK GATHERING!

  • Infonote.,

    The problem that Newspapers are facing is not with the ‘push’ part, but with the ‘pull’..The number of newspaper subscribers is dwindling which is causing advertisers too to shun the medium..

    Anand’s last blog post..Netflix DVD Shipping

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