Technology Is Killing The Print Newspaper Industry, But How?

Newspapers PileIn nowadays, the statement “the print media is a dying industry” shouldn’t surprise anybody. For the last 15 years or so, newspapers are rapidly losing ground while the internet took its place and became the main source of information for people.

However, although the print media is dying it isn’t dead quite yet. In fact, even though this industry descending forcefully and they are very, very (VERY) far from the peak at the beginning of the millennium, newspapers still manage to generate substantial amount of money.

Professor Mark Perry from the University of Michigan has published a chart showing the newspapers advertising revenue adjusted for inflation, for the last 60 years (1950-2011). The chart’s data was taken from the Newspaper Association of America.

Print Newspaper Ad Revenue 1950-2011

WOW, what a fall from the all time high of nearly $64 billion in ad revenue in 2000 to a 60 years low of close to $21 billion in 2011! Professor Perry mentions in his post that it took the print newspaper industry 50 years to climb from $20 billion to $64 billion (1950-2000) and only 11 years to fall back to $20 billion (2000-2011).

According to a prediction by the research firm eMarketer, in 2012 online ad spending predicted to surpass for the first time the print ad spending (which includes newspapers and magazines). The gap between the industries will only widen until by 2016, the online ad industry would be worth almost twice as much as the print industry.

Online VS Print Ad Spending 2011-2016

Personally, I find this whole general concept of “technology (or internet for that matter) is killing the print media” as too general. Therefore, I tried to break it down to some more specific aspects in the technology world:

  • Blogs- The ease of starting a blog and write about everything in mind while being exposed to basically the whole world in a click of a “publish” button, made many blogs as the MAIN source of information for many people worldwide.
  • Social Networks- Although social networks didn’t mature enough to be an independent news source by their own, they are still grabbing a lot of attention of information seekers.
  • Devices- The rise of smartphones and more importantly tablets which constitutes as a “mobile newspaper”, made it possible for people to find online information from any place they are.
  • Newspapers Online- Any traditional respectable newspaper has these days an active website where news are being published. While this move was unavoidable for obvious survival purposes, it also harm the print media by its nature.

Most traditional newspapers at least could find some comfort from the last aspect I mentioned- According to the Newspaper Association of America, newspaper online ad revenue has generated in 2011 $3.2 billion (which is still very far from the more than $40 billion “missing”).