What’s Black and White and Read All Over?

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For years now we’ve been told that newspapers in printed form are on the endangered species list, and the journalists working on them better hone their social media skills. But, just like with the digital revolution for books, there’s room in the market to live and let live. The question is, will we use both?

Business Model Diversifies.

In the US, circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers recorded a second consecutive year of growth, rising 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013, according to data compiled by the Newspaper Association of America. Meanwhile, income from traditional print advertising channels declined. Industry is expanding its business model; digital adverts pinpoint consumer behaviour in a way that the printed page cannot.  Is it true, therefore, that the twenty first century has no need for a homogenous, universally applicable model?

Newspapers’ mobile audience is expanding

Those who use only mobile devices to consume newspaper digital content increased 53% in March 2015 from the same month a year ago, according to a report from NAA.

Facebook launches Instant Articles

To quote FB, Instant Articles is ‘a new way for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook.’ By ‘publishers’ they mean nine launch partners, from the New York Times, the BBC and the Guardian to National Geographic. It can’t be too much longer before it rolls out to you, me and the boy down the lane. First there was crowd-sourced journalism, now crowd-sourced article publishing may be upon us, too.

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Emperor’s New Clothes

But, hang on a mo, Joe, with Instant Articles, publishers keep control over their content and business model. Just as with traditional print newspapers, the launch partners sell adverts and keep the revenue.

Clay Shirky, in an excellent article, wrote ‘Print ads are essential revenue for most papers. Retail ads are essential for print. Sunday is essential for retail. Inserts are essential for Sundays. The base of that entire inverted pyramid is being supported by the marketing departments of no more than a couple dozen national advertisers.’ Same same but different.

Perhaps large newspaper consortiums will continue to merge and staff levels will continue to decline, but the same business model continues to offer the same opportunities, albeit in digital media.

Before you remark how newsprint gets your hands dirty anyway, remember this: The economy is recovering. And with recovery comes more sales.

Real Estate Classified Ads took a pounding with the collapse of the property market all over the world. Houses are selling again and as a result, printed newspaper sales of local presses are on the increase once more. Anecdotally, the Costa Del Sol has just seen the birth of a new publication, ‘Weekend World’ which has a heavy bias on the property market. With more property sales come more jobs. With more work comes more money. With fuller pockets comes more advertising . . .

In the past butlers used to iron newspapers before the Lord and Lady of the house sat down to read them. Few of us can afford a butler, but we’ve all got irons. . .and mobile phones.
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Tracy Thomson

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