Newspapers Have Finally Awakened

Now that they’ve seen sustained losses in print classifieds and regular, declining print subscriber numbers the newspapers in the US are finally on the move. Major deals with Yahoo, Zillow (and others to come), as well as talk of a new ad network all show increasing momentum and reflect that newspapers are now collectively moving — and starting to move faster than before.

It comes about 5 or more years late, but it’s great that these developments are happening.

One thought I had this morning was that newspapers should collectively create a kind of open platform or set of tools for the Internet that they could use themselves. They collectively put money into a pot, create a startup with engineers and others whose job it is to develop platforms and tools for the industry. And then they all can freely use whatever comes out of the process.

Perhaps it’s a “harebrained” idea, but its might address some of the technology imbalance that effectively forces newspapers to start outsourcing key parts of the online strategy to others.

What do you think?


According to the NAA Q3 online revenues jumped 21% and the Internet now provides 7.1% of total ad revenues.

Advertising expenditures for newspaper Web sites increased by 21.1 percent to $773 million in the third quarter versus the same period a year ago, according to preliminary estimates from the Newspaper Association of America. The increase reflects the fourteenth consecutive quarter of double digit growth for online newspaper advertising since NAA started reporting online ad spending in 2004. The continued year-over-year gains have demonstrated the importance of newspaper Web site advertising, which now accounts for 7.1 percent of total newspaper ad spending, compared to 5.4 percent in last year’s third quarter.

Here’s much more detail on the numbers and historical information about ad revenues.

Of course, print advertising in newspapers continues its downward march. With that bad news and analysis, here is Silicon Alley Insider.


6 Responses to “Newspapers Have Finally Awakened”

  1. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    You are exactly right. In a perfect world all local media companies (newspapers, TV and radio) would use a common local search platform and aggregate/share all their content (user reviews, business profiles, ads, coupons, etc.), traffic and distribution.

    The combined traffic alone would create an instant major ad network with each member of the consortium providing local businesses with a trusted local access point.

    It seems unlikely to happen given the level of coordination required, but if they pulled it off they’d be back in control of their destinies.

  2. Gregory Domine Says:

    About common startup, a worldwide common organisation already exist : IFRA. This Organisation is at the origin of Newsplex concept wich tends to extend to more and more newspapers.

    About combining contents and traffic from different editors, check at the NYT project : This is exactly what you’re talking about.

  3. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks. Wrote about Blogrunner when it relaunched on the Times’ site:

    I was really talking about technology. But I do agree with the approach that the Times has taken with Blogrunner and have argued for a long time that newspapers should become news aggregators. They could have done it a long time ago with Topix.

  4. earlpearl Says:

    Very interesting information. On the one hand I find it encouraging to see the growth in newspaper revenues from the web. Bravo.

    On the other hand it is amazing to see the size and aggregate drop of revenues on the classified side.

    I still wouldn’t want to be on the newspaper side. When you see aggregate classified in the newspapers at $billions and a model such as craigslist that is virtually free, its an awful battle to try and maintain a large company and all its components when the options to advertisers are so dramatically low.


  5. Local Media’s Old Paradigm May Be Crumbling « State of Local Says:

    […] Be Crumbling November 21, 2007 — Dan Endy Greg Sterling wrote today about the sudden awakening of newspapers in response to years of eroding subscribership and the loss of classified and regular advertising […]

  6. Dave Schappell Says:

    My hunch is that this sounds great in theory, but wouldn’t work so well in practice. I remember in the early days at Amazon, that independent US booksellers (via the American Booksellers Association) banded together to create an aggregated platform (BookSense) to merchandise products at local bookstores across the country, creating virtually the largest selection with the most convenience for customers.

    No, it’s not the same thing as your proposing, but without the economic upside and the singularity of mission/purpose, it’s very hard to get a consortium of any size (let along 10 people within a single company!) to agree on anything to achieve mass industry-changing goals. Do you have any examples of this working?

    One example I can think of right now that seems to be making some positive strides is, which is a consortium of Fox and NBC — but the jury’s still out on how that’ll pan out.


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