What are newspaper publishers to do?

This morning I was reading a Harris poll from the Mediapost about daily newspaper reading habits, Newspapers_webwhich had some very revealing statitstics that are surely going to hurt the newspaper industry more.

In fact, content wars are heating up all over the place.  I was reading up on DomesticatingIT’s article roundup last week, and Jon highlighted several articles about the struggles of online content, and monetization of that content.

But the problem is, people aren’t reading newspapers as much anymore, that’s a fact.  And it appears they don’t want to pay for it either.  Some stats:

  • Two in five U.S. adults (43%) say they read a daily newspaper, either online or in print almost every day
  • Just over seven in ten Americans (72%) say they read one at least once a week
  • 81% read a daily newspaper at least once a month.
  • One in ten adults (10%) say they never read a daily newspaper

With that shift in readership that is only going to continue in this direction, AND the fact that most daily newspaper readers are in the 55+ bracket, who will be willing to pay for content?  Not many suvey said…

  • 77% of online adults say they would not be willing to pay anything to read a newspaper’s content online.
  • One in five online adults would only pay between $1 and $10 a month for this online content
  • Only 5% would pay more than $10 a month.

So what are newspapers to do?  They need to generate revenue, and they are losing subscriptions by the day.  It all feels messy.  And it could go very wrong, like in the music industry.  We all stand to lose though.
What would you be willing to pay for?

Photo: Free Foto

UPDATE:  2-5-10

Just wanted to add this to the conversation here, I happened to read another study about where newspapers are fitting in with our internet reading habits.  Where do we get our news?  Where do we turn to?

For “news right now,” 57% of news users now go to digital sources, up from 33% a few years ago. 31% are likelier to turn to an aggregator than a newspaper site (8%) or other site (18%).

So, where can newspapers bring value?

Local topics, news, family events, and entertainment, remain the domain of local companies. National topics are going both profoundly digital and national.

I would concur with this trend, as it reflects my own viewing habits. I have turned away newspaper sites, even my own local newspaper that requires paid access when I cannot access the full article. Check out the article, though. Some juicy comments too, not all in agreement with my thoughts either.


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