The Future of Print

Detroit Newspapers partner with Plastic Logic to transform daily news

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on March 31, 2009

Plastic Logic today announced a strategic partnership agreement with the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, Michigan’s largest and award-winning metro daily newspapers, to offer an innovative digital content delivery and distribution program with its forthcoming Plastic Logic Reader.

The Plastic Logic Reader, due in the market in early 2010, is a groundbreaking electronic reader that features a large, thin, lightweight and robust form factor that is about the size of an 8.5 x 11-in. pad of paper and weighs less than many print magazines. The eReader is differentiated by its size, unique plastic display that is based on Plastic Logic’s revolutionary plastic electronics technology, and intuitive touch screen interface, among other yet to be announced features.

The partnership announcement was made today by Detroit Media Partnership and Detroit Free Press CEO David Hunke and Plastic Logic CEO Richard Archuleta during a press conference at the prestigious Detroit Economic Club. Earlier, in a speech before the Club, Hunke outlined a set of sweeping and innovative changes for the Detroit newspapers that emphasizes digital content delivery. As part of the initiative, the Plastic Logic Reader will be offered for purchase or lease to subscribers of the Detroit dailies as an alternative to paper delivery. The Detroit newspapers will also be among the first publications to test the new eReader later this year.

via Detroit Newspapers partner with Plastic Logic to transform daily news.

L.A. ‘Hoy’ to Cease As Daily

Posted in Doom, Stop the presses by futureofprint on March 31, 2009

CHICAGO Tribune Co.’s Los Angeles edition of the Spanish-language tabloid Hoy is ceasing daily publication.

Hoy will publish once a week in print, and is targeting its Saturday Fin De Semana total market coverage (TMC) product, said John T. O’Loughlin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer/targeted media and marketing of the Los Angeles Times Media Group.

“With these moves, we are smartly recognizing that these are the days most important to our readers and advertisers and, in publishing twice a week, we can produce Hoy more efficiently and continue offering it to readers free of charge,” O’Loughlin said in a memo to employees. The memo did not mention when the change will take place, or what day Hoy will publish in print.

via L.A. ‘Hoy’ to Cease As Daily.

Sun-Times Media Group Files for Chapter 11

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on March 31, 2009

CHICAGO Sun-Times Media Group STMG, burning through cash at more than $5 million a month, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

The parent of the Chicago Sun-Times and 59 Chicago-area newspapers said it would continue to operate its papers “as usual while it focuses on further improving its cost structure and stabilizing operations.”

STMG said it had retained Rothschild Inc. to “commence a process for a sale of assets.”

The company said it believed it had enough cash for day-to-day operations.

“Over the past several months, the company has taken several steps to reduce costs and strengthen our organization. However, the significant downturn in the print advertising environment that has affected newspapers across the country has continued to severely impact us,” Jeremy L. Halbreich, chairman and interim CEO, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this deteriorating economic climate, coupled with a significant, pending IRS tax liability dating back to previous management, has led us to today’s difficult action. Importantly, we firmly believe that filing for Chapter 11 protection and exploring the potential sale of assets or new investment in the Company offers us the best opportunity to protect our respected media properties for the long term.”

Google Kills Video Ad Units After Poor Performance

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on March 31, 2009

The Inside AdSense blog announced that Google will be discontinuing the Google Video units. Google Video units launched in October 2007 but due to not living up to the expectations Google hoped for, Google is going to “retire” the feature by the end of April.

In fact, many publishers were recently not happy with the video ad units performance, in terms of earnings through the AdSense network. So, starting now, new publishers can no longer sign up for video ad units, and in April, they will be completely discontinued. Google recommends that all publishers begin removing the ad units from their pages.

Via Search Engine Land

The Wounded U.S. Newspaper Industry Lost $7.5 Billion in Advertising Revenues Last Year

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on March 29, 2009

Last year was the worst on record for the U.S. newspaper industry. Total advertising revenues both print and online declined 16.6 percent to $37.85 billion, according to the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of America. That is $7.5 billion less than in 2007. Print advertising alone declined 17.7. Classifieds were down 29.7 percent. And even online advertising was down 1.8 percent to $3.1 billion.

Newspapers are shuttering their print editions, laying off staff, or closing entirely as a result of this severe contraction in revenues brought on by the double whammy of economic recession and competition from the Web. Drilling down into the fourth quarter numbers, total advertising dollars shrank 19.74 percent, making it the tenth straight quarter in which revenues have declined, and the sixth straight quarter in which the rate of decline has been accelerating:

3Q07: -7.4%

4Q07: -10.3%

1Q08: -12.85%

2Q08: -15.11% 3

3Q08: -18.11%

4Q08: -19.74%

Via TechCrunch

Christian Science Monitor publishes final daily print edition

Posted in Doom, Stop the presses by futureofprint on March 27, 2009

Dear readers:

The Christian Science Monitor has published its final daily print edition, dated March 27.

The key words in that sentence are “daily print.” As of today, we are shedding print on a daily basis. But the Monitor itself – the century-old journalistic enterprise chronicling the world’s challenges and progress – is becoming more daily than ever. And with the launch of our new weekly print edition, the Monitor is becoming more vital than ever.

No longer inked on wood pulp, no longer trucked from printing plants to your mailbox, no longer published only five days a week, the daily Monitor is now a dynamic online newspaper on all days.

The Monitor is available everywhere – St. Louis, Johannesburg, Boston, Buenos Aires, Jakarta, Toronto – the instant you go to our website, CSMonitor.com.

via Editor’s message about changes at the Monitor | csmonitor.com.

Worst Year in the History of the Industry – Newspaper Ad Revs Dropped 16.6 Percent In ‘08; Online Slipped 1.8 Percent

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on March 27, 2009

The figures are in, and last year was the worst in newspaper history: Ad revenues fell 16.6. percent to $37.8 billion in 2008, according to the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of America. As for the online slice, 2007’s 18.8 percent gain feels very far away, as website sales slipped 1.8 percent to $3.1 billion. Over the last few years, classified advertising has suffered the most of any other sales category, and as the NAA’s stats show, the damage in ‘08 was great: classified ads plummeted 29.7 percent to $9.9 billion. Job ads did even worse, falling 42.5 percent to $1.6 billion; real estate was down 37.8 percent to $1.5 billion; and automotives dropped 29.1 percent to $949.5 million. Full NAA figures are here.

Via PaidContent

U.S. bill seeks to rescue faltering newspapers

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on March 24, 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

“This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat,” said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.

Cardin’s Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.

Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt, and contributions to support news coverage or operations could be tax deductible.

via U.S. bill seeks to rescue faltering newspapers | Politics | Reuters.

10 Newspaper Acquisition Targets

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on March 24, 2009

Believe it or not, there remain investors who want to buy local newspapers.

Our favorite person of this stripe is an investor who has already plunked millions into the industry and is the process of spending much more.

“I might be running head first into the buggy-whip business, but I’m not sold on the death of print quite yet,” he tells us. He’s asked us to keep him anonymous because many of those deals remain under non-disclosure agreements.

So what does this investor see in the newspaper industry that the rest of us don’t? Lots of room for improvement.

His view:

For most of their existence, newspapers were steady sources of revenue that required little management — “cash cows that you put your brother in charge of.”

This led to bloat at the large, public congolmerates that now own many of our best local newspapers.

Then came the Internet. It brought some competition yes, but more devastatingly it brought the preception of a paradigm shift. Suddenly, the bloat-tolerant managers at the top of the newspaper chains couldn’t turn left without hearing from an equity analyst threatening to slap their company with a “sell” rating if it didn’t invest enough in the Internet.

After a decade of investing in the Internet — but doing little to fight the bloat — the conglomerates are collapsing under a weight of debt.

This debt remains and online ad revenues aren’t helping reduce it. The LA Times claims its online ad revenues pay for its newsroom, but our source doesn’t buy it. “You had to pull out the duct tape and rubber hoses to make [their formula] work,” he says.

Read the rest at Silicon Alley

Maybe Newspapers Don’t Belong Online

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on March 23, 2009

The conventional wisdom is that all media companies need to figure out how to take their business model and transform it to the web – Almost all of them have heeded the late Harvard Professor Theodore Levitt’s famous lesson of what killed the railroads: “They thought they were in the railroad business, not the transportation business.” But after ten years of following Levitt’s advice, it’s not at all clear that the traditional media model works on the web.

There is also the possibility that the web will not be a place where content will create sources to be viable on the web. value. In fact, there’s just one unfortunate thing about Levitt’s compelling mantra about railroads and the transportation business.

It’s wrong.

Transportation may have been a wonderful business on rails and sea, but it has proven a dreadful business in the air. Even today, the market cap of Burlington Northern is $22 Billion; the market cap of Carnival Cruise is $14 Billion while the market cap of American Airlines is less than $1.5Billion. The railroads may have done many things wrong, but avoiding the airline business was not one of them.

via Maybe Newspapers Don’t Belong Online.