Newsprint Consumption Declines, Editorial Photog Competition Increases

Posted on 7/28/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

If you are among those who think newspapers and magazines will always be with us because customers want them, consider these numbers. In 1990, U.S. newsprint consumption was 12.1 million metric tons. Three quarters of that, or over 9 million tons, was used by daily newspapers and the rest by commercial printers. In 2009, U.S. daily newspaper usage is on track to be about 4 million tons, or perhaps a little less.

The current state of the economy has very little to do with this drop, despite figures that show U.S. newsprint consumption down by 26% since last year. Overall, use of newsprint has increasingly o the last two decades. Advertising reductions and newsprint costs have caused publishers to produce fewer sections, print fewer editions and reduce publication sizes and circulations.

When the economy improves from its current state, there may be a few more ads, but it seems unlikely that pictures uses will increase. It is more likely that publishers will try to pay off some of their tremendous debt and—for a change—make a little profit by keeping operating costs stable and as low as possible.

What does this mean for photographers? Currently, there is roughly half as much space devoted to news pictures as there was 20 years ago, and it is declining. When images are used, they tend to be smaller. We have no statistics on the number of photographers currently producing images that compete for this declining amount of space, but industry trends suggest that their numbers have increased several fold—at a minimum—and continue to increase daily.

Copyright © 2009 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff