by Allen Silberman
THE NEW REPUBLIC's
"MEDIA MISERY INDEX"
In its Wednesday, March 4, 2009 online edition, The New Republic presented its "Media Misery Index," a sobering roundup of statistical indicators of the print news business's decline.
I'm including selections from the NR roundup in this post to indicate not that print is gone, dead, finished, as analog TV signals soon will be; but that the dominance of the digital format in communications is no longer a matter of speculation.
It's a fact.
•Percentage of people who get most of their national and international news from the newspaper in 2008, 35%; percentage of people who get most of their national and international news from the Internet in 2008, 40%; percentage of people who got this news from the Internet in 2001, 13%. Source: The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (PEW).
•Total daily newspaper circulation in 2000, 55,773,000; total daily newspaper circulation in 2007, 50,742,000. Source: Editor & Publisher International Yearbook.
•Decline in the Sunday circulation of The New York Times in the six months ending March 31, 2007: 9.3%. Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations.
ADVERTISING RATE BASE DOWN
•Size of Newsweek's advertising rate base in 2007, 3.1 million; projected size of Newsweek's rate base in January, 2010, 1.5 million. Source: The New York Times, February 8, 2009.
•Amount of total print ad revenue for newspapers was up in the third quarter of 2000, 4.3%; amount print ad revenue for newspapers was down in the third quarter of 2006, 2.6%; amount print ad revenue for newspapers was down in the third quarter of 2007, 9%; amount print ad revenue for newspapers was down in the third quarter of 2008, 19.26%. Source: Newspaper Association of America.
AUTOMOTIVE CLASSIFIED AD REVENUE DOWN
•Total newspaper revenue from automotive classifieds in 2003, $5.2 billion; total newspaper revenue from automotive classifieds in 2007, $3.26 billion. Source: Newspaper Association of America.
STOCK PERFORMANCE DOWN
•Percentage the Dow dropped in 2008, 34%; percentage the Gannett Company's stock dropped in 2008, 79%; percentage the New York Times Company stock fell that same year, 62%; the percentage that the New York Times Company stock has fallen since 2002 (as of the time and date of this compilation), 89%. Source: PEW and the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), 2008.
PRINT vs. ONLINE AD REVENUES/PROFITS*
•Percentage of ad revenues traditionally provided by total newspaper ads: 33-50% (source: Erik Sass, MediaDailyNews); percentage of newspaper profits provided by online ad revenue in the third quarter of 2008, 8.4% (source, Newspaper Association of America).
TOTAL NUMBER OF GANNETT NEWSPAPER DIVISION EMPLOYEES DOWN
•Number of employees in the newspaper division of Gannett in 2000, 41,000; approximate number of employees currently in Gannett's newspaper division, 29,000. Source: Media Daily News.
TOTAL NUMBER OF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS DOWN
•Number of foreign newspaper correspondents in 2002, 188; number of foreign newspaper corresdpondents in 2006, 141. Source: The Washington Post.
JOURNALISTS REPORTING STAFF CUTBACKS
•Percentage of local print journalists reporting staff cutbacks, 2004-07, 82%; percentage of national print journalists reporting staff cutbacks, 2004-07, 69%. Sources: PEW and PEJ.
*The gap between print and online ad revenues reported above is, I believe, a temporary phenomenon. It will be resolved, in my opinion, by more effective advertising formats and techniques demanded by the growing global dominance of digital media.