Monday, June 23, 2008

Papers Facing Worst Year for Ad Revenue

"The primary long-term threat to newspapers is the Internet’s siphoning away of ad revenue, a trend that has been under way for more than a decade, but one that has picked up speed in the last year. Advertisers have vastly more choices online than on paper, so newspaper Web sites win only a fraction of the advertising that goes digital, and it pays much less than advertising in print."

But print media isn't the only industry facing change. The broadcast industry is also facing decreases in their ad dollars as cable television better reaches key demographics with better reach and frequency. "The shift in advertising dollars from broadcast to cable is not new, but it is particularly pronounced this year. There are several explanations, analysts say, including the fact that the most popular cable channels on their best nights, now attract nearly as many viewers as some of the less popular broadcast networks. Over all, the ratings gap, once vast, has been gradually narrowing."

So both industries are facing a changing market. National Broadcast has adapted by buying up cable networks. Print has tried to adapt by buying websites. And in an interesting move, a cable company, Cablevision, is buying a newspaper, Newsday. The lessons to learn seem obvious; what got you to the dance won't keep you there. Businesses must continually adapt to meet the internal and external changes they face.

Consumers continually consume content. No matter in what form, print, video, audio. They consume to learn, to relax, to entertain, to play, to think. Companies that create content need to think outside the box to new avenues and distribution paths to connect their content with the consumer. And as consumers, we expect our content on demand, what we want, when we want it. Speed matters.

Take for an example the untimely passing of George Carlin. Print media had to wait more than 24 hours to deliver the news, while TV and the web could provide full information in a timely and immediate manner. No wonder, today's consumer no longer seeks the newspaper to learn new information. The current distribution model is broken and either the content has to change to reflect a different use for the product or the distribution has to change to regain the connection with the customer. It is necessary in this changing landscape.