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The decline continues

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  • Interesting Media Guardian article on extinction-level crisis in the US newspaper industry.




  • IRE60 wrote: »
    But they did fire a warning shot late last week.

    IT join in with cuts. 30% pay cuts for higher paid staff, reduced hours and availing of government subsidies. Advertising suffering badly.




  • Seems that The Journal has shuttered fora.ie and has gone the Gruaniad route of soliciting donations to keep running. Not exactly print media but it highlights the danger of a Huffington Post wannabe model in a market as small as that of Ireland.

    Regards...jmcc




  • 3 fascinating articles on what is happening in the industry right now ...

    Roy Greenslade reports for Media Guardian that print papers have been defying predictions of doom for two decades. But this pandemic is likely to finish off many titles. Roy discusses the cuts in the newspaper industry and concludes that we are at a pivot moment in the history of the 380-year British newspaper history.

    Interesting FT article here (via the IT) with some hard stats on what is happening right now. Sales at major supermarkets fell as much as 48 per cent in the week to March 24th, while those at travel hubs and motorway stores fell as much as 67 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

    Meanwhile Press Gazette has a very well researched piece on what is happening in the US newspaper industry here.

    Roy is right. We are at a pivotal moment in the history of newspapers. Titles that were already hanging by a thread before this crisis, will not emerge at the other end of this crisis.




  • Wow. Some really shocking articles. This is the 2008 crisis on steroids. Sometimes a crisis is needed for something to happen that was always inevitable. Print will eventually die. This crisis might move us further along this change path.

    This crisis will not kill print in its entirety but will shake out some low hanging fruit. Perhaps some of the Irish tabloids such as the Irish Daily Star and the Irish Mirror might end up on a chopping board along with some regionals?
    Seems that The Journal has shuttered fora.ie and has gone the Guardian route of soliciting donations to keep running. Not exactly print media but it highlights the danger of a Huffington Post wannabe model in a market as small as that of Ireland

    There are still to this day very few examples of profitable online news models that survive on advertising alone. The Journal is not alone - Buzzfeed has cut staff salaries by 25%. The Journal (especially Fora) is far from a sustainable model.

    We need a decent Spotify type news product here asap.


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  • Szero wrote: »
    Wow. Some really shocking articles. This is the 2008 crisis on steroids.
    It is not. It is a very different situation from 2008. In 2008, cheap and relatively high quality resolution tablets and mobile devices were almost non-existent. (Generally, only Techies are aware of such things so don't expect the "technology" journalists to notice these things and their relevance.) This means that the balance in the publishing media has changed from a print orientated one towards an electronic one. In 2008, more people bought print editions of newspapers than read them online. This was typically out of habit but there was no real competition from online newspaper publication because it meant reading them on a laptop or a desktop. Now, with tablet devices under 100 Euro and almost everyone having a mobile phone with a relatively decent screen, the cost has shifted in favour of these multi-use devices.
    There are still to this day very few examples of profitable online news models that survive on advertising alone.
    The Journal is just comment as content. It is/was trying to emulate the Huffington Post model in the tiny Irish market. Basically, it is "views" rather than news. I know that this sounds very politically incorrect but the market for happy-clappiness isn't exactly lucrative when all the happy-clappies are mainly unemployed and the businesses that were once advertising have shut down or stopped their advertising campaigns.
    We need a decent Spotify type news product here asap.
    This is another interesting point. How people consume news has changed. Because of the effects of the Web, attention spans have narrowed. Rather than reading a long article, people want instant information. This means that the more successful news articles are generally shorter for this market. This trend towards more compact news began decades ago. While people of modest intelligence (the typical Irish opinion column crayon jockey) generally look down on the Tabloids as being written for a lower form of life, the reality is that they are written in a compressed format that doesn't waste words on pontification. This compression of news is something that people have come to expect and it can be seen and heard with TV and radio news. The other aspect of a Spotify approach is that it would allow the listener/viewer to select only the news that they want. That is what happened with the Web and its effect on print newspapers. The reader can choose what they want to read rather than having to buy the whole print newspaper to read a single article. A micro-credit system where readers can pay per article might work with some publications but there isn't really anything worth paying for in the Journal and Fora seemed to be advertorial and press releases masquerading as content.

    Regards...jmcc




  • I still miss the Thumbs Down option The Journal used to have on their comments.




  • The Journal relying on donations is not sustainable in the medium to long term. A move of desperation

    Some of the tabloids need to die off: The Star, The Express, The Sun, The Mirror. Irish version of the Daily Mail, Evening Herald




  • spare a thought for all the click bait hucksters out there :D




  • Gekko wrote: »
    The Journal relying on donations is not sustainable in the medium to long term. A move of desperation
    It seems that they are trying to emulate the Gruaniad in this respect but the it has a large number of daily readers online and it apparently is doing well from the subscriptions and donations. People may not completely agree with the editorial stance but will read it because of the high quality journalism. It also has a wider range of articles and coverage.

    The problem for the Journal is that it does not have the same volume of daily traffic and its news coverage is definitely not in the same league.

    Regards...jmcc


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  • jmcc wrote: »
    It seems that they are trying to emulate the Gruaniad in this respect but the it has a large number of daily readers online and it apparently is doing well from the subscriptions and donations. People may not completely agree with the editorial stance but will read it because of the high quality journalism. It also has a wider range of articles and coverage.

    The problem for the Journal is that it does not have the same volume of daily traffic and its news coverage is definitely not in the same league.

    Regards...jmcc

    Very true

    Guardian has a global readership




  • The cuts keep coming ...

    - Telegraph Media Group has furloughed 90 workers until end of May, with remaining staff to work four-day week from 1 May and have salaries cut by 20 per cent, including execs.
    - Guardian is putting 100 non-editorial staff on furlough.
    - The FT has put 20 non-editorial staff on paid leave, it has reported. The top 80 managers and editors will have wages cut by 10% for rest of 2020, board pay cut by 20%. CEO John Ridding will take 30% pay cut. Annual bonus scheme suspended and pension contributions halved.

    In one sense it is surprising that the FT are badly affected as one would expect digital subs to be soaring, in another sense there is not much non-Covid-19 business news these days, and the FT print edition would be suffering with offices closed and cancelled print subs as a consequence. Perhaps some of these businesses will not resume print subs thereafter.




  • 1 March to 22 March ABC numbers are out. Different reporting period.

    UK newspapers in Ireland numbers are here. 7% YoY decline in the market.

    UK-only numbers are here.

    The decline continues but not as rapid as expected but the numbers are mainly pre-lockdown and include the Cheltenham bounce.

    The next set of numbers will be more interesting.




  • Szero wrote: »
    We need a decent Spotify type news product here asap.

    Definitely think there needs to be a Spotify model for online journalism. Right now each individual publication has their own subscription but people want to get their news from a wider variety of sources but arent willing to pay for five or six subs.

    I think if you bundled together the heavy hitters like the NYT, San Fran Chronicle, Guardian, Times, SMH, maybe a couple of others and charged 9.99 a month a lot of people would go for that, I know I would. At the moment I just donate to the Guardian on an ad-hoc basis, their messages telling me I've read 110 articles this month kind of guilt me into it. But Id happily pay a proper sub if it meant I had a wider variety of publications to read than just a single source.

    Or else a huge clearing house of all online media publications where you get to subscribe and then pick the five or six you want to read for an all in monthly price.

    As for print I would say the IT could be hit by the shutdown as a lot of their readership buy the paper daily out of sheer habit. Now that habit has been broken they are going to lose some readership. Other titles will be hit too as habits are broken. Even if you were in a shop every day theres not much good reason to buy a newspaper for right now, theres no sport and its wall to wall coverage of Covid 19. People are tiring of it because its been all consuming, reading page after page about it in more detail feels like you're picking at a scab.




  • I suspect there'll be a decent increase in delivery subs of the main papers here; but not enough to offset lost shop sales. I've had to assist two cocooning individuals to get IT deliveries set up and neither would have been a daily buyer previously. One has gone 6 day, the other 6 day and SBP

    My parents have started getting what I have - digital, Saturday, SBP, also now that I remember it; they're not cocooning age (just) but are going out less regardless




  • Muahahaha wrote: »
    Definitely think there needs to be a Spotify model for online journalism. Right now each individual publication has their own subscription but people want to get their news from a wider variety of sources but arent willing to pay for five or six subs.

    I think if you bundled together the heavy hitters like the NYT, San Fran Chronicle, Guardian, Times, SMH, maybe a couple of others and charged 9.99 a month a lot of people would go for that, I know I would.

    Apple News+ is essentially a Spotify type product for news. It's 9.99 USD per month in the US and 9.99 GBP per month in the UK. It hasn't worked. Subscriber numbers have stalled. The UK product only gives access to The Times and then a series of mid-range on-the-decline-magazines. It is a poor product in the UK when people are used to thousands of sources on social media.

    Whilst some of us would love access to top international publications for 1 price per month, a lot of people only want local news access (and there is not much premium Irish news for example) or just want access to the Daily Mail/Sun/tabloids where there is no premium edge and you will always get some of this content for free. Hence, there is a limited audience for such a product.

    The other issue is price. Why would the FT who can get 20-30 EUR per month for subscribers to their direct platform join an aggregator, especially then the aggregator is made of largely of sub-par content.
    Muahahaha wrote: »
    Even if you were in a shop every day theres not much good reason to buy a newspaper for right now, theres no sport and its wall to wall coverage of Covid 19. People are tiring of it

    Exactly.




  • The Economist has an article on the state of the newspaper industry in this crisis here.

    - Website traffic is up 20-50% for some titles.
    - Overall sales down 30% (in line with other estimates).
    - Advertising revenue down up to 80%.
    - Digital subs are rising at four to six times normal rates.
    - But paper purchases, which mostly dwarf digital subscriptions, have collapsed and income from online ads is pennies to print pounds.
    - 40-50% of what is lost may never come back after the crisis ends. Behaviours of advertisers and readers will have changed.
    - The crisis will only accelerate long-standing trends.




  • JTMan wrote: »
    Apple News+ is essentially a Spotify type product for news. It's 9.99 USD per month in the US and 9.99 GBP per month in the UK. It hasn't worked. Subscriber numbers have stalled. The UK product only gives access to The Times and then a series of mid-range on-the-decline-magazines. It is a poor product in the UK when people are used to thousands of sources on social media.

    Whilst some of us would love access to top international publications for 1 price per month, a lot of people only want local news access (and there is not much premium Irish news for example) or just want access to the Daily Mail/Sun/tabloids where there is no premium edge and you will always get some of this content for free. Hence, there is a limited audience for such a product.

    The other issue is price. Why would the FT who can get 20-30 EUR per month for subscribers to their direct platform join an aggregator, especially then the aggregator is made of largely of sub-par content.

    Thats interesting, Im surprised that Apple couldnt make it work, perhaps the selection of publications wasnt enough to entice people. The article says they are thinking about bundling their news product with Apple TV and Apple Music so seems like they have given up on the idea somewhat.

    Id have thought that for the aggregation model to work there has to be a very wide selection of publications to choose from. If there is not it gets frustrating for consumers to be paying a sub and then maybe getting linked to an article in the Spectator or Economist and not being able to read it.

    As for the FT Id imagine most of their subs are paid for by companies for their employees to read. They probably would never go the aggregator road as it would cheapen their product. Doing so would get them a wider audience but at a far lower level of payment per set of eyes reading it.




  • Muahahaha wrote: »
    Thats interesting, Im surprised that Apple couldnt make it work, perhaps the selection of publications wasnt enough to entice people. The article says they are thinking about bundling their news product with Apple TV and Apple Music so seems like they have given up on the idea somewhat.

    Id have thought that for the aggregation model to work there has to be a very wide selection of publications to choose from. If there is not it gets frustrating for consumers to be paying a sub and then maybe getting linked to an article in the Spectator or Economist and not being able to read it.

    As for the FT Id imagine most of their subs are paid for by companies for their employees to read. They probably would never go the aggregator road as it would cheapen their product. Doing so would get them a wider audience but at a far lower level of payment per set of eyes reading it.

    Part of the problem is that they can't get the publications on board in any meaningful way.

    Apple are (or at least were) looking for a 50% of the subscription revenue and outlets - understandably - don't see the value in handing that much over. That's especially true if they're already having some success with standalone subscription products of their own.




  • Interesting WSJ article here (paywall) on the fact that many regional US newspapers on the verge of collapse. Papers representing more than 80% of U.S. circulation are disqualified from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program because of the way their companies are structured.


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  • NorthSide People and SouthSide People are no longer. Liquidator to be appointed. More here.

    "The Company had introduced several cost-reduction programmes before the current crisis as it struggled to combat the accelerated migration of advertising from print to online" but it was not enough.




  • JTMan wrote: »
    NorthSide People and SouthSide People are no longer. Liquidator to be appointed. More here.

    "The Company had introduced several cost-reduction programmes before the current crisis as it struggled to combat the accelerated migration of advertising from print to online" but it was not enough.
    A pity. Many of the local newspapers seem to be hanging on by their fingernails. Some of the nationals can't be doing well either. The IN&M takeover may not look like such a good idea now for the Belgians.

    Regards...jmcc




  • jmcc wrote: »
    Many of the local newspapers seem to be hanging on by their fingernails.

    Absolutely. A Covid-19 storm has hit an industry already in a storm. The free newspapers seem to be particularly affected.
    jmcc wrote: »
    The IN&M takeover may not look like such a good idea now for the Belgians.

    Mediahuis timing of the acquisition, months before Covid-19, could not have been worse.

    Mediahuis seem still intent on putting the house on legacy newspapers, they acquired a large newspaper group in Luxembourg last week. They have deep pockets.




  • The INM boss said in a recent interview that it now has 20,000 subscribers




  • Gekko wrote: »
    The INM boss said in a recent interview that it now has 20,000 subscribers

    On one hand, this is good news.

    On the other hand, it does not come close to making up for a reported 70% decline in print advertising and a reported 30% decline in print sales, as well as the general decline that was going on before Cvoid-19. Also, the digital sub price is a tiny fraction of the print price.




  • Gekko wrote: »
    The INM boss said in a recent interview that it now has 20,000 subscribers

    In fairness thats not a bad jump from the initial 7,000 they had on launch. Would be interesting to know where the extra came from though, perhaps more people subbing during boredom of lockdown. Equally it might have come from them signing up a couple of govt. departments to it for all the civil servants to read.

    Its still very low though and at 9.99 a month 20k subs gives them revenue of just below 200k a month. Its a long way off the numbers of subs they need to make it viable.




  • JTMan wrote: »
    On one hand, this is good news.

    On the other hand, it does not come close to making up for a reported 70% decline in print advertising and a reported 30% decline in print sales, as well as the general decline that was going on before Cvoid-19. Also, the digital sub price is a tiny fraction of the print price.

    Yes, if you count the ads there aren’t many. The state is subsidising them - and other papers too of course - with government ads




  • The state is the single biggest advertiser across broadcast media also, although retailers and insurers seem to be advertising quite heavily.

    I presume there is absolutely zero outdoor/outdoor-associated (pub toilets, shopping centre bin sides, inside trains, etc etc) trade going currently?




  • Interesting one on the newsbrands website from the Indo:


    "The need for independent, trustworthy and relatable stories is clear with daily newspaper sales across all titles up 8% for March 9th-15th V 2nd-8th 2020 and independent.ie reporting 31.3M page views and an average dwell time of 6.20 minutes (March 15th to 21st Google Analytics)"


    Published 31st March


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  • They are obviously quoting the week pre lockdown where there was probably a hunger for news but no restrictions.


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