Newspapers are Walking Dead... With a journalism undergrad degree, I'm sad about all of the death and dying notices that are coming out in tital proportions in 2009. I've put together a short summary of this whirlwind of last gasp indicators...
We've had a long dance with printed news (see Ben Franklin's first magazine, published 1741, at right). It's almost over for newspapers. People forget that the U.S. Postal service subsidized media keeping the cost of sending news through the mail cheap and affordable.
Signs of Print Death Rattles...
The NYTimes received $250 million from Carlos Slim and started putting ads on the front page. Two weeks later the Boston Globe put ads on its front page. Layoffs continue -- the WSJ, LATimes, Dallas Morning News, Miami Herald and on and on- across the board all newspapers are cutting back. The Chicago Tribune has a new design for news stand editions and it is compact --looks like a Parade insert. The Albuquerque Journal is stopping delivery and rack sales in more than 30 communities in New Mexico. Discussion is continuing about making newspapers non-profit, and France has given everyone over 18 a free newspaper subscription as a way of subsidizing the newspaper business. The Washington Post is ending its stand-alone book section. Even Bloomberg is cutting jobs and that is one media outlet I thought was well set for surviving these shifts.
Neighborsgo.com is a spinoff of the Dallas Morning News that uses a social network for community journalism and will cover 47 neighborhoods and is an example of how things are shifting from old to new.
Watching these mediascape changes:
If you are interested in more on media disruptions, go to Newspaper Death Watch. For media in general, I follow I want Media - Media News & Resources and Media Memo. It isn't just newspapers that are suffering. ABC, Time Warner, Disney, Clear Channel and other media companies are also suffering with the changes in the mediascape and the cut in advertising dollars in the recession. Hollywood will release fewer movies and put less marketing money put behind each release.
Jon Stewart's media joke: What's black and white and completely over? Newspapers.
Rupert Murdoch is admitting he spent twice as much as he should have for the WSJ. What I don't figure is why there isn't a date and timestamp on its online front page. I picked up a WSJ hard copy Wednesday and had read most everything digitally the morning before. Print is so old news, at least with the dailies.
The NYTimes is thinking about going back to online subscription. Kindle readers pay for a pushed version of the NYTimes, but it isn't updated. The new Kindle2.0 comes out Monday (expects a $1.2 billion business this year) and I'm ready to go to intangible digital books but since Santa Fe doesn't have good AT&T reception, I can't do iphone so it will be a long time before I'll be reading books on that tiny iPhone screen. Amazon expects books on iPhone to be the next area up for growth. My New Yorker subscription is also offering full content online to subscribers but I've not checked it out to see if it is different, but it will be pushed to me via email before the print editions come out which is a feature I would like, especially since news is old by the time I get it in the mail in New Mexico.
Digital Media... The shift to intangible media continues
Twitter, Dig, memeorandum, bloglines.... the way to get information online has pushed news elsewhere. CNN.com set a record for Obama's inaugural Live Stream. Craigslist has doomed classified ads in print. Facebook is 5 years old. Facebook's revenue is estimated at $260 - $300 million and Google's revenue is estimated at $962 million (link). DVD sales are down (no one likes Blue-Ray) and CD sales continue a decade-long spiral (Sony execs call it the "phyiscal music market").