Monday, September 22, 2008

Newspaper Readership Continues Decline; More Newspapers on the Ropes

The Newark Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest newspaper, expects to loose $30 million to $40 million this year, while its sister newspaper, the Trenton Times expects to loose $5 million. Both papers are properties of Advance Publications, owned by the Newhouse family. The Star-Ledger is attempting to negotiate voluntary buy-outs of 225 non-union workers, which would leave its workforce with 500 employees. The Trenton Times is attempting to achieve 25 voluntary buy-outs. The Star-Ledger's circulation has shrunk to fewer than 300,000 subscribers.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has released its Biennial News Consumption Survey. The survey shows that all old media news viewership and readership has been steadily loosing ground since 1993.

News Readership Trends: Newspaper, Radio, Cable TV, Nightly Network News, Morning Network News, Online/Internet News

Source: Pew Research

Only network morning news has held fairly steady at around 20%, while Internet news readership and viewership has grown smartly from 2 percent in 1996 to 37 percent in 2008.

Newspaper Readership Declines
Internet News Increases

Source: Pew Research

This morning (Sept. 22, 2008) Internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban told newspaper executives to give up and declare bankruptcy. It's not that people won't continue reading newspapers, its that they won't continue reading them in the numbers they have. The handwriting is on the wall and newspapers need to start over again. Some, such as the Wall Street Journal, have made yeoman efforts to reinvent themselves on line. A few, with such herculean efforts, will probably survive. But for the most part, newspaper online sites are disappointing at best, hard to use, and merely repurpose their print editions with an online edition.

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