New research suggests the further decline of print newspaper usage, but newspaper companies can respond to the challenge with direct sales, data usage, and content marketing.
We're starting to reach the level of "piling on" when it comes to the future of newspapers. Newspapers aren't going away; they are changing. And as they become digital publishing entities, smart executives are identifying the new opportunities rather than the new problems.
This might seem like a crazy idea during a week in which yet another somewhat gloomy newspaper forecast was released. This one came from stock analyst FBR & Co.'s William Bird. His numbers show that a third of young readers don't read print papers, and are more and more flocking to online news outlets. Over the next year, print newspaper usage is expected to decline a net 5 percent, his survey numbers say. A total of 11 percent of respondents say they plan to use print newspapers less. This was exactly offset by the percentage of respondents who say they plan to consume online newspapers more (11 percent).
Bird finds the migration to have "structural pressure" on newspaper companies. I couldn't agree more. I also think most newspapers are responding to the challenge. I'm not being Pollyanna here. It's a tough business. But I see three positive developments to those structural issues. And structural issues, as we all know, is another word for money.
It's easy enough to find more data about the decline of print newspapers. I think we might be past the point of that data being useful. Better to embrace the future, which is in digital publishing.
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September 23, 2014