Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Sunday Times: 'How newspaper revenues are being crushed by the internet juggernaught'

In the last decade British newspapers have seen ad revenues tumble from $7.6 billion to $4.6 billion, according to figures from Carat, the Sunday Times reports today.

The paper also says newspapers have seen their share of total marketing spending in Britain halve to just 20% over the period.

It notes than in some countries, for example Australia and India, print advertising has risen over the past decade and that last week Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, bought 63 American newspapers in a $142m deal that made him one of the country’s biggest publishers.

But, the Sunday Times says: "The big picture, however, is that in most English-speaking countries newspaper revenues have been crushed by the internet juggernaut."

It adds: "Advertisers say they have nothing against the medium — they have just followed eyeballs. 'It’s not advertisers deserting newspapers, its advertisers chasing consumers,' said Anthony Ireson, marketing director at Ford of Britain. 'As consumers have gone online and readership of newspapers has fallen, we have moved advertising'."

The article - Papers besieged by online hordes - adds:  "Advertisers like digital media because they pay only for results — per “click”. Unlike newsprint, which requires research to validate results, it is easy to track, and as a consequence, easy to justify."

It also says: "Regional papers in Britain and America have suffered most from the upheavals of the past decade. Classified advertising was once the lifeblood of small titles. Now, however, local merchants prefer to sell their wares online rather than in the local paper."

The Sunday Times has a paywall but in a reference to the free access to the Guardian and MailOnline, the article claims: "Precious few newspapers have managed to extract meaningful revenues from a free internet service."

The article is not all gloom: "There are, however, some reasons for optimism — particularly if newspapers can maintain the circulations of their print format while building up the readership of their online product. 'As long as they keep readers, we will want to advertise with them,' said Ford’s Ireson."

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