The Future of Print

Hope – What newspapers need to do to survive

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on December 30, 2008

Edward Roussel, head of digital at the Telegraph in London, writes an inspired essay telling newspapers what they should do – if it isn’t too late.

He makes 10 strong suggestions (I like 7-10):

7. Nimble, low-cost structures. “About 75 percent of newspaper costs have nothing to do with the creation of editorial content…. Newspaper companies are bad at technology, so a digitally minded chief technology officer will be able to get cheaper and more effective services by outsourcing. Newspaper sales teams don’t do particularly well at selling ads on the Internet; too often they sell ads that are irrelevant to a reader’s interests in an era when Google has made relevance key. If your sales team can’t beat Google, then outsource to Google.”

8. Invest in the Web. “Don’t try to suck too much revenue from your fledgling network. Your Web site needs investment before it can fly… A Web revenue-growth model cannot simply be a mirror image of the decline in your newspaper sales.”

9. Shake up leadership. “…If the people who run your newsroom aren’t passionate about your digital future, it’s certain not to materialize.”

10. Experiment. “…Don’t be afraid of failure. Try new projects, see what works, and build on success.”

Read the full article


Video Major Factor in Internet Topping Newspapers as Leading News Source

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on December 30, 2008

A Pew Research Center survey finds, for the first time, more people rely on the internet rather than newspapers for news — a result, Target Internet Marketing says, of a shift in credibility and authority to online sources from traditional media. This is driven largely by delivering information as video, audio, maps, directories and other forms.

  • More than 50% of consumers — and over 90% of business purchasers — search the internet before buying; and
  • Websites rank #1 as the “single greatest source of influence” on shopping decisions by online consumers.

Read the full article.

Content Sites Bracing For 50% Revenue Slowdown

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on December 30, 2008

Display advertising revenue is going to fall of a cliff in January according to a number of content sites I’ve spoken with who rely on advertising for revenue. “Sales through December were mostly strong as advertisers used up their marketing budgets,” said one sales exec. But, he added, “there are few buyers for this next fiscal quarter, and those few that are buying are looking for steep discounts.”

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Can the LA Times turn off its presses?

Posted in Boom, Stop the presses by futureofprint on December 23, 2008

David Westphal reports an important and historic crossing of the Rubicon for a major newspaper, recounting a discussion with LA Times editor Russ Stanton at USC: “Stanton said the Times’ Web site revenue now exceeds its editorial payroll costs.”

I’ve long been asked by newspaper people – as a challenge – when the web will cover the costs of the newsroom as it exists. I’ve said it won’t, that the scale of the business is just different.

But if what Westphal reports is true – and I confirmed via email that I was reading him correctly (and it does make sense since both edit costs and web revenue run at about 10-15% of newspaper budgets) – then it means the Times could support its newsroom as it stands – after cutbacks aplenty – from the web. That’s momentous.

Read the full article:

Journal Comm revenue falls

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on December 22, 2008

—Journal Comm online revs fall 5 percent: total interactive ad revenue at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, fell 5 percent to $1.13 million in November. Meanwhile, total revenues at the Publishing and Broadcast groups dropped 10 percent to $36.01 million. And at the daily newspaper, ad sales were $10.62 million, down 22.3 percent for the month.

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Barclays Ad Forecast: Bullish on Online Search, Bearish on Newspapers

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on December 19, 2008

Barclays Capital’s Media team updated their advertising forecasts for all ad verticals, taking their 2009 and 2010 U.S. advertising growth estimates down to -10% and +1%, resp, from 2009 growth of -5.5%. The most bullish estimate is for online search, which is expected to grow 20% in 2009 and the most bearish is for newspapers, which is forecasted to decline 17% in 2009.

Newspapers: We are cutting our 2009 and 2010 newspaper advertising revenue forecast to down 17.0% and down 7.5%, respectively. Specifically, in 2009, we estimate retail down 11.0%, national down 17.6%, and classified down 27.9% (help wanted down 44.7%, auto down 37.5%, and real estate down 28.8%). In 2010, we estimate retail down 5.0%, national down 7.0%, and classified down 13.5% (help wanted down 15.0%, auto down 12.5%, and real estate down 12.5%).

Read the full article.

How Google Deals With A Recession (GOOG)

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on December 18, 2008

What I find interesting in this is how many places Google has to “turn on” ads via new revenue channels. Print has never had the same ability to increase inventory.

Since Q3 ended — and the entire economy collapsed — Google has:

  • Put its ads on Google Images, News, Finance for the first time.
  • Created new types of ads for Google Maps.
  • Launched YouTube search ads.
  • Introduced ads for the iPhone and G1
  • Allowed parked-domains to serve AdSense ads.
  • Crammed 75% more ads on search results pages.
  • Opened itself first to beer and wine sellers and then later, hard liquor merchants too.
  • Even put some of its New York office space up for subleasing.

Google’s also quickly moved to trim costs, cutting contractors, travel and food. The company also essentially did away with its 20% rule, and now demands engineers work on things that will make money for the company and benefit shareholders.

Read the full article

Most Small Businesses With Web Sites Don’t Buy Search Ads (GOOG)

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on December 17, 2008


  • 59% of small businesses with Web sites don’t currently use any paid search marketing
  • Of those, 90% have never even attempted it.
  • 70% of small business owners say they would rather do their own taxes than start a search marketing campaign
  • 86% small business owners felt that they could be missing opportunities to grow their business.
  • 75% believed prospective customers could be searching online for the type of service their business offers.
  • 89 % feared keywords may become too expensive.
  • 81% questioned if paid search marketing is the best use of their marketing budgets.
  • 25% of respondents believe paid search marketing is too complex.
  • 21% thought it would be too time consuming.
  • 25% felt they would need an agency to help set up a search marketing campaign.

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Detroit papers drop home delivery to 3 days a week

Posted in Doom, Stop the presses by futureofprint on December 17, 2008

DETROIT (AP) — Fighting to stay in business, Detroit’s two daily newspapers will radically change their relationship with readers by slashing home delivery to three days a week, printing small editions on other days and encouraging people to get information online.

“I don’t think we’re ever going back,” said David Hunke, who also is publisher of the Free Press.

If it fails, “I’m fired and I may have led two great institutions down the wrong path,” he said. “It’s a huge risk. It’s disruptive to folks. I understand that.”

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Facebook’s Brand Advertising Success Story: A Failure

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on December 17, 2008

Last month, after a Procter & Gamble exec said “I really don’t want to buy any more banner ads in Facebook,” the New York Times’s Randall Stross went to Facebook and P&G to find out more about the relationship.

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