A Sad Time For Newspapers

When Al Gore invented the Internet the Internet was new, few people expected it to become as commonplace as it is today. Now that it is, many traditional media outlets are suffering the wrath of innovation. I don’t know who first said, “Change or die!” but the message can be applied to all facets of life, especially newspapers in this critical transitional period. The cliché’s undeniable truth is clearly illustrated with the current ill-fated demise that newspapers across the country are experiencing on a daily basis; including Lubbock’s own Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. The A-J recently put the sticker you see in the above picture on a distribution of papers.

The picture is a little fuzzy, the phrase is:

Attention Lubbock Businesses!

Reach 1,000s of Households for Less Than the Price of Postage!
Call to hear a

*Exclusive” Message
800-530-4585 / EXT 55

I am confident that the saving grace of our written news will soon reveal itself in the form of ereaders or similar devices. Many predicted the new Apple iPad would be the magic solution prior to its release. Now that’s it’s here, I think people are far less convinced. I personally don’t think printed newspaper readers will make the jump on a wide scale for at least 5 more years. I still like to touch the paper; I like being able to cut out the comics that made me laugh and put them on the refrigerator. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

The inherent problem with change isn’t the predecessor or the successor; rather it is the intersection of the two. Right now is that unbearable time where people give up on the old, yet haven’t adopted the new. This is the true killer of newspapers. In 5 years, the newspapers that survive this transition period will be the ones that we’ll all be reading on our tablets, our phones, our laptops, our netbooks (heh, that’s funny, my computer thinks netbooks is misspelled), and even our TVs.

The newspapers that find a way to monetize their online versions (something none of them have found a way to master yet) before they lose the majority of their old-style print-version subscribers will be the success stories we’ll be getting our information from (as we’re reading about the good ol’ days and being nostalgic about our old newspapers that we used to read and clip articles and comics out of). Those that fail to keep their revenues up while in this transition period will undoubtedly fail or be forced into a less-than perfect circumstance.

Opportunity in the Wake

Many advertisers have seen this as their queue to run for the digital hills, and in many cases, rightfully so. However, as the above image illustrates, the drastic decline in printed newspaper advertisers provides tremendous leverage for those businesses that can still gain from advertising in the newspaper. Print newspaper advertising is more affordable than ever. If it makes sense for your business to advertise in the newspaper, take advantage of the fact that so many businesses have pulled out of newspapers.