Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 3, 2009 9:57 PM

When Online Advertising Fails The Newspaper Industry

If you've been following the newspaper deathwatch, the two main sources of revenue that they are saying will help them survive and thrive in the new economy is online advertising or some kind of paid subscription model for the content.

Yesterday, ClickZ published a news item entitled, Online Newspaper Ad Decline Gets Steeper in Q1:

"Online paper ad dollars dwindled more than 13 percent compared to the same quarter 2008. And they're falling at a quicker clip than in Q4 2008, another miserable quarter when newspaper Web ad revenues dropped more than 8 percent. The NAA pegged online newspaper ad revenues at $778 million in Q4 '08."

There was lots of talk a few months back when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper went online only. Then, the news broke that pageviews on the website dropped 20 percent after the newspaper was no longer supported by the print edition in conjunction with the Web.

Are newspapers and the online audience simply anathema?

Meaning: maybe the audience size for people who really love the physical newspapers is shrinking. And with that, perhaps, that audience is not all that interested in getting their news from their favourite newspaper online too. Perhaps, the people who read the physical paper are completely different from those who read the news online.

Could that be part of the answer?

Even if it is, there's still that lingering stat from Marketing Charts in October 2008: "Newspaper websites each month attracted more than 68.3 million unique visitors (41.4% of all internet users) - a record number... Moreover, newspaper website visitors generated an average of 3.5 billion pageviews per month throughout the quarter.�

This could not be any more confusing.

One thing that is not confusing: the newspaper sales reps are going to have a harder time convincing brands and advertising agencies that their advertising platform is the most effective and powerful form of advertising as the current numbers continue to drop.

This has to be about something more than people looking for their news online and the impact of Craigslist on the classified business.

By Mitch Joel


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