Friday, January 29, 2010

Rumors of newspapers' impending salvation...

..may be premature at best.

With all the talk of the iPad saving the media you'd think that a lot of people are willing to pay for online news if only they had the proper tools.

You'd be wrong.

(Harris Interactive News Release, Poll by Regina M. Corso 01/13/2010)
Newspapers around the country are struggling. 2009 saw a few newspapers change their business model to an online focus or shut down completely. 2010 will most likely see the same struggle and, perhaps, new business models emerge for these media entities. One thing is clear, the era of Americans reading a daily newspaper each and every day is coming to an end.

Just 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 while 81% read a daily newspaper at least once a month. One in ten adults (10%) say they never read a daily newspaper.
Worse than that, is the value that the public places on newspaper content:
One potential business model that newspapers are exploring is charging a monthly fee to read a daily newspaper's content online. This model, however, seems unlikely to work as three-quarters of online adults (77%) say they would not be willing to pay anything to read a newspaper's content online. While some are willing to pay, one in five online adults (19%) would only pay between $1 and $10 a month for this online content and only 5% would pay more than $10 a month.
Locally, this is potential bad news for ChronBlog, who faces all of the same hurdles as other daily newspapers but is suffering from the additional burden of reduced news content caused by ill-targeted layoffs.

In short, ChronBlog is suffering from a segment collapse in the market and incompetent leadership. I've yet to see a business that can stand on one leg (monopoly) when the other two legs (demand & quality) dry up.

Good news though! This Sunday we're being treated to another Features-type section!

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