The Future of Print

Internet be damned, newspapers to stop their slide? – InternetNews:The Blog – Kenneth Corbin

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on August 7, 2009

Borrell and Associates, a market research firm based in Williamsburg, Va., that focuses on media and advertising, is forecasting that newspaper revenues from print advertising will not only level off over the next few years, but actually increase.Not all ad revenues print and Web. Just print.

“With news stories of bankruptcies, reduced distribution, and outright closures, it is easy to see why some observers think the newspaper is an endangered medium,” writes Borrell President Colby Atwood. “But amateur pundits often make the error of forecasting with a ruler, extrapolating current trends straight into the ground.

“Borrell looks for the precipitous decline in ad revenues to end this year, projecting that newspapers will post a 2.4 percent increase in print-ad sales next year. By 2014, Borrell estimates that newspaper income will have climbed 8.7 percent from this year’s mark, which it’s pegging at $35.9 billion.

That’s a steep drop-off from the halcyon days of 2001, when newspapers hit their high-water mark of $53.4 billion in print-ad revenues, a point the firm’s CEO Gordon Borrell says the industry will never see again. Borrell convincingly describes his firm’s prediction as a “dead-cat bounce,” but it’s still a hopeful sign for a print medium that is routinely written off as being on life support, a leaky boat, a dinosaur, etc.

What gives the analysts their optimism? Newspapers will reinvent themselves with more of a niche focus, transitioning to something resembling a magazine-style format (longer articles, more graphics, less frequent publication schedule) that caters to a well-educated, high-income demographic, Atwood said.

Also, the industry is hardly a monolith. Borrell notes that the largest 150 or 200 papers, from the New York Times on down, have been hit the hardest by the drop-off in classified and retail advertising. But suburban and community publications have fared considerably better, and Borrell expects that their ad sales are headed into a period of growth as local advertisers look for the “de facto geographical targeting” opportunities those papers afford.

Via Internet News

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