Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at The Poynter Institute asks the question that is on a lot of minds: “Is the time close by when a newspaper company, or at least some newspapers, will discontinue print and go all-electronic?”
Edmonds explained that he has said before that print newspapers will stay around for a while. Online advertising revenue will need to grow continuously, and grow a lot, in order to break even with print ad revenue, and it has been reported that online ad growth is stalling.
Despite this, he says he could be wrong about newspapers being around for a while. Print advertising could continue to decline even more than it has in recent years and news sites could “get a second wind” by improving their design, multimedia content, and news content, ultimately, of course, attracting more readers who no longer want to pay for their watered down print version when more content is available online for free.
If that happened, profits would decline for print newspapers, the paper would experience losses and may decide to become an online only paper to save themselves economically by eliminating paper and delivery costs, and generally reducing the price of production. Edmonds concludes that going online only could cut about 35% of expenses. Edmonds explains in this case online profits and print profits could break even far before the revenues are the same.
“Killing the print edition only makes sense if the savings are greater than the loss of print advertising revenue as some choose not to follow along,” says Edmonds. Edmonds says that at first we could see papers discontinue a day or two of daily versions and perhaps Sunday editions could even stay around.
Another alternative? To offer a print version on a tablet-like device (like Amazon’s Kindle) so that people who like a traditional print layout could still have that without the paper.
Source: Poynter Institute