Bad news, good news
• Newspaper stocks fell an average of 83.3% in 2008—twice the fall of the S&P 500—wiping out $64.5 billion in market value, according to Alan Mutter’s Newsosaur blog.
• Since 1994—and the release of the commercial web browser—newspaper audience penetration has fallen a third, from 23% to 16%. In that time, circulation fell 14% (59 million to 50 million, according to the Newspaper Association of America) while population rose 20%.
• Since 1994, newspaper print advertising revenue fell on an inflation-adjusted basis by 10% (from $34,109 million in 1994 dollars to $42,209 million in 2007 dollars, says NAA).
• Since 1994, the number of newspapers in America fell from 1,548 to 1,422, according to NAA.
• In 2008 alone, 15,586 newspaper jobs were lost, according to the Papercuts blog.
• In 2008, the Pew Research Center found that the internet surpassed newspapers as a primary source of news for Americans (following TV). For young people, 18 to 29, the internet will soon surpass TV, at nearly double the rate for newspapers.
• 30 big newspapers for sale. That is for the US market. Problem is, even at bargain basement prices, there are very few buyers. The Financial Times says newspaper valuations have gone from 8-10 times operating cash-flow a few years ago to 4-6 times now. And with ad revenue falling by 15% to 20% in 2008 and comparable declines in sight with –17% for 2009 and –7.5% for 2010 (as forecasted by Barclays Capital), the notion of positive cash-flow is fading away. No market will be spared: Deloitte is expecting a loss of 20% in ad revenue for UK newspapers. For many papers, says the report, staff reduction won’t be sufficient, and they will be forced to reduce print frequency.
• Jeffrey Cole of the University of Southern California Annenberg School’s Center for the Digital Future found in a 2007 survey that young people 12 to 25 will “never read a newspaper.” Never.
• In 2008, the American Society of Newspaper Editors took “paper” out of its name.
• But newspaper online site audience has long since surpassed print circulation, reaching 69 million unique users in fall 2008, according to NAA.
• And the total online news audience is about 100 million—more than half total U.S. internet users—according to ComScore.