The Demise of the Newspaper

1/26/2009

- Heather Wall, Client Strategist

The number of people going online for anything and everything continues to rise.  No surprises here.  However, this migration has left the newspaper industry out in the cold. Newspapers have been experiencing a steady decline in both the number of advertisers and readership. E-marketer reports that in 2008, newspaper revenues were down by 16.4% which translates to a whopping $37.9 billion dollars in lost cash flow. Why is this happening?  The answer is the migration to online media. More people are consuming their news online, and this trend is likely to continue.  Advertisers need to be aware of where their potential customers are spending their time and begin to shift their marketing dollars accordingly. 

So, why are newspapers having so much difficulty? Newspapers make most of their money through advertising. But, advertisers have been slowly transitioning their marketing dollars online as readership has gone to the web. There have been many articles that illustrate the widening gap between online ad revenue and print revenue. This shift has left many of them without the necessary funds to stay afloat.  Some are merging, while others are up for sale. If you rely on newspaper print ads in order to market to your local area, what are your plans?  It is time to survey your advertising opportunities, and begin shifting your marketing dollars accordingly.

There is good news here. Online Marketing has been evolving.  It has become much more flexible, measurable and scalable.   Local search has made it easy for advertisers to market their products or services online within their local community, including through online editions of newspapers. 

Most search engines offer the flexibility to have your ads shown either in specific zip codes, cities or states. There is no longer a concern that your ads will be seen in areas that are irrelevant to you. Also, online marketing is much more measurable.  It offers the necessary metrics to evaluate ad performance and make intelligent decisions in ways that print advertising simply cannot.

So, do newspapers have a business model that is outdated and essentially broken?  I'd say, most likely yes, and as a result, they are struggling to stay afloat. This means you will need to find new ways to keep your ads in front of your customers Now is the right time to get up to speed on local search.

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