We’ve commented from time to time on the financial crisis besetting newspapers and most other print media. This long article in USA Today provides an excellent overview:
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sense of innovation and willingness to take risks that I’m seeing now,” says John Kimball, chief marketing officer of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).
“Across the industry the message I pick up is, ‘Oh my God. It’s slipping away. What can I do?’ ” says Stephen Gray, managing director of the initiative, called Newspaper Next. The answer, he says, will require “a shift of thought from, ‘How do we get people to read more newspapers?’ to ‘What problems are people trying to solve in their lives, and how can we help?'”
It’s not hard to see why newspapers are concerned:
Growing uncertainty about newspaper companies’ prospects contributed to a 20% decline in the collective value of newspaper company stocks in 2005.
Newspapers are expanding rapidly onto the web and into other non-traditional media like podcasting–the “News & Politics” section of podcasts on iTunes is a real eye-opener–but it remains to be seen whether these ventures can replace the profits being lost in print.
In the meantime, newspapers are fighting back. This intensely interesting article in yesterday’s Financial Times describes complaints by newspapers and other content providers against Google and other on-line aggregators:
A group of newspaper, magazine and book publishers is accusing Google and other aggregators of online news stories of unfairly exploiting their content. They are demanding compensation from search engines.