November 5, 2007

Newspapers: Still Rolling Downhill

The marketplace has continued to judge the Dead Tree Media as wanting. Editor & Publisher released the subscription rates for major newspapers, and almost all of them lost significant ground in both the daily and Sunday subscription rates from this time last year. Among the losers -- the New York Times and the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

New York Times: -4.5% daily, -7.6% Sunday
Strib: -6.5%, -4.3%
Washington Post: -3.2%, -3.9%
Boston Globe: -6.7%, -6.5%
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: -9.1%, -9.2%

Interestingly, the Los Angeles Times managed a small bump upwards, at least in the daily numbers. They grew daily subscriptions by 0.5%, one of the few bright spots for the industry report. They lost 7% on Sunday subscriptions, however.

The market has changed, and these numbers reflect the changed paradigm in news delivery. The dead-tree delivery system has not recovered from the impact of the Internet, and the spread of broadband will continue to kill it. The individual papers may have other issues with customer retention than just delivery mechanisms, however. Credibility issues at some newspapers appear to be hastening the decline in major markets, even where -- as with the Strib -- no significant competition exists.


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