Friday, December 5, 2008

Blind For Over Twenty-Five Years

At the dawn of the 1980s, I worked for the top consultancy in electronic media (oh yes, electronic media existed way back then!).

One of the executives there immediately saw that newspapers were going to have their classified ad revenues snatched away by online competitors.

And now this:

Ad losses send industry into a tailspin
Across the United States, more than 30 daily newspapers are for sale, and buyers are scarce.

From Los Angeles to New York, leading newspapers have slashed newsrooms with buyout offers, and when those failed to reach budget-cutting goals, with layoffs.

The newspaper industry has been caught in a tailspin for three years, a trend variously blamed on plummeting ad revenues, declining readership, growing competition from the Internet and a deepening national recession.

Emphasis added by me.

See? Their blindness continues. "Three years?" It's been over twenty-five!

Many newspapers were clients of that consultancy too!

Here's the key bit:
The main culprit in the newspaper business decline: shrinking classified-ad sections.

Newspapers depend on advertising for about four-fifths of their revenue, and at big-city dailies, the classifieds used to bring in half of that money.

Through 2005, print-advertising revenues grew nationwide, according to Newspaper Association of America data. But the industry took a $5 billion loss in advertising dollars during the next two years, and this year could be much worse.

In the third quarter of 2008, print-advertising revenues were down 28 percent from the third quarter of 2005. Most of that loss came in the classifieds.

"The heart of the matter is losing classified advertising to various electronic competitors," said Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute in Florida. "First, it was gradual. Now, it's precipitous."

Emphasis added by me.

eBooks have existed for well over a decade, beginning with the widespread sales of the Palm Pilot, back in 1996.

Dying dinosaurs of print book publishing: Wake up!

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