Newspapers' Only Hope Is Not Looking HopefulNewspapers are freaking out left and right. They can't hire anyone. They can barely afford to cover anything. And some of them are so paranoid they're looking to sue their own employees. Like an alcoholic dad who beats his kids and blames the god damn factory that just laid him off, newspapers' problem is that they just can't make any dang money, because the internet ate up their market. Their only real hope: increasing web revenue to make up for what they've lost in print ads. The problem: their web revenue is now stalling. The solution: Batman. Ha, no really it's just "more death":
But now, after 17 quarters of ballooning growth, online revenue at newspaper sites is falling. In the second quarter, it was down 2.4 percent compared with last year, to $777 million, according to the Newspaper Association of America. It was the only year-over-year drop since the group began measuring online revenue in 2003.
That's kind of like having your parachute fail, and opening your emergency chute only to find that someone has replaced it with a can of beans. Actually, readership is way up, but papers can't sell the online ad space fast enough to keep up, and all that unsold space drives down prices. So some newspaper sites are planning to sell fewer ads so they can sell those fewer ads for more money! Others just plan to go out of business in short order. Ahem:
In the second quarter, online revenue dropped about 12 percent at A. H. Belo, 8 percent at E. W. Scripps newspapers, 4 percent at the Tribune Company, and 9 percent at Lee Enterprises, all compared with the same period last year.
[NYT]