Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Newspapers, Stop Crying

For several years there has been much wailing from within the ranks of the newspaper industry. No one reads them, Craigs List has taken their ads away, consolidation within the retail ranks has contracted the ad market, etc. Well, guess what, no one promised an eternal annuity and newspapers gotta learn to adapt.

It's called the market economy, and by the way, newspapers are still making money. True the long term outlook isn't great for print, but they're still making money. What newspapers have are valuable brands, and they've got to learn how to diversify into other forms of media. The ones that do will not only survive but will thrive. A recent Bivings report on the use of the Internet by newspapers shows that there's a long way to go.

Those who do adapt are likely to see a good year next year according to Stuart Elliott's column in yesterday's Times. He reports that the Newspapaper Association of America predicts a rate of growth of 1.2 percent next year. The 2007 forecast for online is a bouncing baby 22 percent. Newspapers, delay online initiatives at your own peril.