Are Newspapers Dead Yet?

Many people have been predicting the death of newspapers since the early 1990’s, and the major print media publications are really feeling the web drain their core business.

Local Web sites continue to ride a wave that defies even the most optimistic forecasts. Local online revenues are growing at a phenomenal rate of 50% this year — even more astonishing considering that retail sales have suffered such a sharp drop.

In the online marketing research study “What Local Media Sites Earn”, local newspaper websites captured an average of 11.7 percent of local advertising dollars. The highest earner in the top 200 papers generated over 78 percent of local spend in its market.

This is not surprising, the largest 10% of a market generally gets over 75% of the revenue.

Expect revenue for print directories to decline more than any other local medium — 39% — over the next four years, from $12.7 billion this year to $7.7 billion by 2012.

Again, no surprise. The large newspapers, led by Tribune have developed reputable standalone advertising mediums including, and other online classified advertising properties.

This will be good for bloggers and startup publishers. It is much easier to compete against a website than a New York Times print newspaper. A small & dedicated talented team of programmers could replicate and create a profitable online site within 1 year.

Read more about the decline of newspapers and the growth of online advertising at pilgrim. and Michael Crichton’s 1993 prediction that newspapers would go extinct by 2003. Mr. Crichton was a bit optimistic in the date, but correct about the nature of mass media shifting.


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