Myth vs. reality of newspapers
We keep hearing about the doom and gloom of the newspapers and that it's a dying business. But we shouldn't believe everything that we hear. Sure, the economic crisis has been tough on newspapers, but it's been tough on everyone. The newspaper in...
We keep hearing about the doom and gloom of the newspapers and that it's a dying business. But we shouldn't believe everything that we hear.
Sure, the economic crisis has been tough on newspapers, but it's been tough on everyone. The newspaper industry will emerge strong after weathering the economy.
A recent letter by John F. Sturm, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America attempts to dispel seven myths about the newspaper industry.
His list includes:
1. Myth: No one reads newspapers anymore.
Reality: More than 104 million adults read a print newspaper every day, more than 115 million on Sundays. That's more people than watch the Super Bowl (94 million), American Idol (23 million) or that typically watch the late local news (65 million).
2. Myth: Young people no longer read newspapers.
Reality: 61 percent of 18-24 year olds and 25-34 year olds read a newspaper in an average week and 65 percent of them read a newspaper or visited a newspaper website in the past week.
3. Myth: Newspaper readership is tanking.
Reality: Average weekday newspaper readership declined a mere 1.8 percent between 2007 and 2008, and about 7 percent since its peak in 2002. Compare that to the 10 percent decline seen in the prime time TV audience in 2007 alone. Meanwhile, newspapers' Web audience has grown nearly 75 percent since 2004, to 73 million unique visitors a month.
4. Myth: Many newspapers are going out of business.
Reality: Newspapers, as individual businesses, by and large remain profitable enterprises - with operating margins that Wall Street analysts estimate will generally average in the low to mid teens during 2009. While that may be down from historical highs, such margins would be the envy of many other industries today.
5. Myth: Newspaper advertising doesn't work.
Reality: Google's own research shows that 56 percent of consumers researched or purchased products they saw in a newspaper. Google also says that newspaper advertising reinforces online ads: 52 percent are more likely to buy products if they see it in the paper.
6. Myth: There are no creative options in newspapers.
Reality: Newspaper advertising options have exploded and now include shape and polybag ads, post-it notes, "we prints," shingle spadeas, scented ads, taste-it ads, glow-in-the-dark, belly bands and temporary tattoos, as well as event and database marketing, behavioral targeting, e-mail blasts, e-newsletters and more.
7. Myth: If newspapers close, you will still be able to get news from other sources.
Reality: Newspapers make a larger investment in journalism than any other medium. Most of the information you read from "aggregators" and other media originated with newspapers. No amount of effort from local bloggers, non-profit news entities or TV news sources could match the depth and breadth of newspaper-produced content.
So, don't believe everything you hear. The reality is that the newspaper industry remains strong and will continue to deliver news on a daily basis. By continuing to expand to the Internet and offer more products, newspapers will continue to be a thriving industry.