An editor at the UK’s Times Online repeated to a newspaper conference the oft-told theme: Google was ‘hugely dangerous’ to the newspaper industry. She was apparently using Google as a bit of a stand-in for the Internet as a whole and its impact on the industry. Newspapers in Europe have fared, in some cases, better than the US with the shift to online news. While most US newspapers are seeing their online readership increase, only about 6 percent of print revenues are online, compared with generally higher rates in Europe. Norway’s Schibsted, for example, gets roughly 20 percent of its revenues from online.
This year, US newspapers have seen an overall circulation decline of roughly 2.4 percent, but an increase of approximately 3.7 percent in their total Internet audience. Also, in the first half, US newspapers saw double-digit revenue declines in classifieds categories across the board (14.8 percent overall). It’s clearly a time of crisis for print newspapers in the US and to a lesser degree abroad, as the Internet becomes a primary news medium. Online newspaper sites do offer some hope to the industry — some hope.
Among the things conspiring against print newspapers is the culture at large. Things have sped up considerably and people often don’t feel they have time to read the newspaper as they once did. A multi-national survey earlier this year, conducted by Harris Interactive for the World Association of Newspapers, asked: “What do you think causes some people not to want to read a newspaper on a regular basis?”
The following were the top answers in each country:
US: Lack of time to read the newspaper GB: Biased or too narrow of a viewpoint in its reporting FR: Lack of time to read the newspaper ITA: Easier to go online for news and information SPA: Biased or too narrow of a viewpoint in its reporting GER: Lack of time to read the newspaper AUS: Lack of time to read the newspaper