U.S. publishers have come under fire in a report on the state of the newspaper industry by the German Newspaper Publishers' Association, according to the New York Times.
The study draws some parallels between the two industries, but contrasts newspapers' plunging revenues in the U.S. with the relatively healthy German press.
The NYT explains that while fewer than half of Americans read newspapers, over 70 percent of Germans do. Daily newspaper circulation in the U.S. has dropped 27 percent from 1998 to 2008, but in Germany, circulation declined 19 percent.
The report blames some of the woes of the newspapers industry in the U.S. on the structure of the industry itself. The fact that newspapers are publicly traded companies allows for pressure from shareholders for profits to force newspapers to cut into editorial and production quality, a move that has sent readers and advertisers to the Internet. In Germany; however, newspaper are owned by families or owners with local roots.
The report criticizes American newspapers for offering their content on the Internet for free. German publishers have been much more apprehensive about putting their content online. Finally, the report concludes that newspapers in Germany need not fear the same fate of American publishers because the two industries are different.
But, is this conclusion too optimistic?