Do people read the newspaper anymore? That is the question many newspaper publishers across America are asking themselves on an ever more frequent basis.
According to a recent article published in PRWeek Magazine, the outlook for newspapers is going from bad to worse. Barraged from all sides by online community websites like Craigslist.com which offer free local classifieds, to pay for ad sites such as Autotrader.com which offers ads for new and used cars and Realtor.com which offers over 3 million home listings nationwide, classified ad revenue is quickly drying up for the traditional newspaper.
The numbers are not looking good for the largest players in the industry. At Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher as measured by total daily circulation, its USA Today advertising pages are down 17% while real estate ads in its community papers are off 20%. News Corp is also feeling the pinch with Dow Jones classifieds down 14% and overall ad revenue has fallen 20%.
Even the most famous paper in the world, the New York Times, has fallen on tough times as earnings per share for parent company New York Times Company have dropped by more than half in the second quarter.
The future does not look any brighter for newspapers as a report by Fitch Ratings states. “As participants gain comfort with online media, they will be less likely to return to the print product in the future.”
To their credit, most major newspapers have created online editions to compliment their traditional print publications, but so far, the newspaper industry has not yet come close to making its rising online ad revenues equal to their falling print ad revenues. As PRWeek put it, if this trend continues, newspapers may end up going the way of the “horse and buggy in the new media Daytona 500.”