The Transformation of Newspapers to Multi-Media Publishers
Industry experts point out that physical delivery, such as newspapers, books, magazines, discs, will no longer be the primary or most profitable means of interacting with media. This is happening not because print is bad, but because digital is so much better. It has the advantages of ubiquity, speed, permanence, searchability, easy updates, targeting, interaction, data feedback, etc. Digital transcends the limitations and incorporates the best of individual media. As a result, there will be less print and the old dominance of print over online will be reversed. As long as you are not taking away the potential for me to read things in print, this doesn't sound so bad to me.
It is also important to remember that, despite the significant drop in revenues, there was $23.9 billion dollars in newspaper advertising revenue in 2011, which is more than three times what all of social media generates annually (Hmm, what does Zuckerberg think of this?).
Here are some other relevant statistics to put things in perspective (many from a presentation by South Carolina Newspaper Network):
- Publishers realized $3.2 billion in web ad revenue through their digital products offerings in 2011.
- Online, newspaper media attracted nearly 114 million unique visitors in January 2012, reaching 65% of all internet users with 4.3 billion page views.
- Despite conventional wisdom, newspapers are reaching young adults. A recent Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer study showed that, among 18‐34 year olds, 70% read newspapers in print and 54% read newspapers online. Scarborough data confirms that nearly 60% read a newspaper in print or online in the past week. The web audience for publishers among 18‐24 year olds exceeds that of popular sites including CNN, AOL, YAHOO, MSNBC and more.
- Nearly 20 million adults are accessing newspaper content on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) each month.
- A recent comScore study conducted for the Newspaper Association of America found that local newspaper websites ranked first among adults as the most complete source of local information compared to online portals, social networking sites, specialty websites and local TV and radio sites. News sites also ranked first as the source most used and the most informative source for local information, sports, entertainment and classifieds.
- Further, newspapers are showing dramatic growth in mobile use. From 2010 to 2011, mobile unique visitors have increased by 70% and mobile page views are up 65%.
- From an advertising perspective, local newspapers are moving fast into the world of digital marketing services. No longer can newspapers only sell print ads and banner campaigns to the local business community. Web development, social media and email marketing are just some of the services being offered. We see newspapers becoming full-service digital agencies for local accounts including network buying, reputation management, SEO and SEM and more. The great news (hah!) is that newspapers are far out in front of this opportunity to serve advertisers with a diverse array of options, whereas television and radio are just now waking up to this tactic.
But something else that is exciting is that newspaper advertising continues to perform for customers. This past Thanksgiving, newspapers reported their inserts packages were more robust than any year in recent memory. Even e-tailer Amazon used newspaper advertising to drive online traffic, expanding on newspapers' traditional strength of driving traffic to brick and mortar stores! Research conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates reported that 79% of all U.S. adults took action as a result of an ad in a newspaper in the past 30 days. Not just newspaper readers, all adults!