Good news

Finally!

I’m too tired to do much more work today, so I’m reading the State of the Media report (full disclosure, if you will:  I used to work with many of the folks that produce the report.)  I alluded this briefly in an earlier post, but this is pretty cool.

We all know that newspaper circulation has been plummeting, and it continued to do so.  Revenue is a mess.  But here’s the good news:

From the audience overview section of the report: “Readership, the new audience measure for newspapers preferred by many in the industry, more than doubles the total audience figure (2.3 times higher for daily and 2.5 for Sunday). The number of people who report reading the print paper at least once during a given week is higher still.

If you add in the unduplicated audience of a newspaper’s Web site (people who do not also read the print edition), which typically is growing at a healthy rate, you get a picture of the “Total Audience” for newspaper organizations growing, not declining.”

Eventually, the advertising HAS to follow.  Right?

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Good news

  1. Jeremy

    There’s an interesting discussion going on among those on the Poynter online news listserv. The problem seems to be that the audience, while growing, is not staying long enough to make it worth it for advertisers. We’re talking maybe 2-3 visits per week and only 1-2 page views per visit.

    Google News is a partial culprit, I think. People are finding news content through the “back door” of a search engine, not going through the front door of the news outlet’s site. The audience, in a situation like that, is far too varied and unpredictable to sell this to advertisers.

    I used to be a big detractor of pay-to-read, but I’m starting to think that has to be part of the answer. Like circulation for a newspaper, it has a built in audience that can be sold to advertisers as a demographic.

    Maybe not a monthly subscription, but maybe something like the iTunes model where you pay a nickel to read a story using a universal login that is good across many news sites.

  2. changingnewsroom

    Yay for smart comments! Thanks Jeremy. Interesting point re: audiences not staying long enough to interest advertisers. I’ve also had people tell me that newsrooms are charging local businesses too much to advertise online, despite all the hyperlocal efforts going on.

    I like the iTunes-model, but the question I guess is just if a nickel at a time is really going to make enough revenue to make up for the loss of big bucks from advertisers. I don’t know.

  3. Jeremy

    To clarify, I don’t think a nickel per story would do it in terms of costs. But it would give the site demographic information such as age, gender, region, etc., that can be used to increase advertising revenue.

    This in turn could possibly bring back display advertising that has no links (rather than something that requires a click-through, which is a poor way of measuring whether a person read the ad).

    It seems like a possible way to increase ad revenue. It seems like sites are locked into this idea that every ad must require a click. I can recall more than a few times where I saw an ad about a sale but didn’t click on it. Instead, I filed the information away and went to the site later. That kind of ad impact is not currently measurable.

  4. I like the iTunes idea, but I wouldn’t be ready to pay more than a dime per story, unless they’re like Reuters’ Bearing Witness package and I spend a full hour sifting through it, fascinated.

    I’m not sure advertising will ever work on the Web. It’s just using the old print model and putting it in pixels. I read a fascinating post the other day, which I can’t find anymore, on why we should put at least a tenth of all the energy we put into reinventing the editorial process to figure out our new business model. I’m a broken record on this, but I think that’s what the next Knight Challenge winners should focus on.

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