Internet News Overtakes Print Newspapers

Posted on 1/22/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Though this week’s inauguration of President Obama has resulted in a spike of newspaper sales, these are but a drop in a big, nearly empty bucket. Emerging studies demonstrate that 2008 was the year when news consumption on the Internet finally overtook print.

According to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, the Internet has surpassed newspapers in national and international news distribution. In 2007, 34% of Pew survey respondents read newspapers, and 24% used the Internet. Today, newspaper readers have remained at 35%, while online news readers rose to 40%. Television remains the main source of news, with 70% penetration.

Predictably, readers under 30 are fueling the shift from print to Web-based news content, threatening even television: 59% of Americans aged 18 to 29 say they get most of their news online; an identical percentage cites television as a news source. Last year, twice as may young people relied mostly on television.

eMarketer estimates U.S. newspaper advertising revenues declined by 16.4% in 2008 to $37.9 billion. The firm anticipates 2009 will bring an equally steep decline, with the industry losing another $6 billion in revenues. By 2012, the market will contract to $28.4 billion.

As the industry implodes, so will its suppliers. Even media leaders that recently thought newspapers still had economic potential are pulling out: two-year-old Google Print Ads will shutter in February. The Associated Press is, perhaps, under the most pressure, as cheaper competitive services emerge from struggling news organizations. CNN is offering publishers a budget distribution service, and Gannet Co. is rumored to be working on an in-house solution that would cut the AP service out of the company’s 84 newspapers, replacing it with a comparable news feed from USA Today.

For the stock-image industry, print newspapers are no longer a viable buyer market—with the exception of microstock outlets. Whether or not lower-priced online image uses will compensate is unclear, even for editorial stock. For the moment, online advertising and image uses are valued much lower than their print predecessors.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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