The stark reality of print media's decline

In under 10 years, print advertising revenue in the US has fallen from $44.9 billion to $18.9 billion. And rising digital revenue isn't even close to filling the gap

by Gravedigger on 12 August 2013 07:23

Veteran Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson offers some stark reminders in an article for Real Clear Politics today on the precipitous decline of traditional print media bouncing off the startling findings of a survey by the Pew Research Center in the United States.

Referring to the US media -- whose predicament acts as an image being held up of the future of media in Britain and elsewhere -- Samuelson offers the following nuggets from the Pew report's findings:

"Employment, which peaked near 60,000, has dropped below 40,000 and is falling...."

"Newspapers' revenues from print advertising have declined from $44.9 billion in 2003 to $18.9 billion in 2012, says Pew. Online revenues haven't filled the gap. In 2012, they were $3.4 billion, about triple their 2003 level."

As Samuelson rightly says: "You can't sustain continuous large annual losses in print advertising revenue and daily circulation (down 14 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in 2012) and maintain a viable business."

He adds:

"On its surveys, Pew asks respondents where they got their news the day before. In 2012, 39 percent answered the Web, including social media, up sharply from 2004's 24 percent, the earliest data. Meanwhile, only 29 percent answered newspapers in 2012, down from 47 percent in 2000."

In other words, the digital media has already staked out a significant lead over print which is starting to be left for dust.

Even those who have been slow to get the point must surely now realise that the (digital) writing is on the wall for the old-style print media. The clock is ticking...

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