The new newspaper numbers are out.
As this chart from Mark Penn of Carpe Diem shows, they’re even worse than the last ones.
On an inflation-adjusted basis, print advertising revenue in newspapers is now 14% below the 1950 level. When digital revenue is included, the number is only modestly higher. And it’s still headed in the wrong direction.
Why does newspaper ad spending continue to plummet?
Because fewer and fewer people are reading newspapers.
This chart from a recent UK survey on media habits shows what is happening. The survey charted favourite media by age. Some old people — those over the age of 75 — still like newspapers, but very few younger people do. And once you get below the age of 35, no one favours newspapers — newspapers literally don’t register on the chart.
The last, best hope for those in the newspaper business is that today’s young people, who aren’t reading print newspapers, will start reading them eventually — when they become older and more sophisticated.
This is almost certainly wishful thinking.
The shift to digital is generational: People who grew up reading newspapers are still reading them, because media habits die hard. People who grew up without newspapers, meanwhile, aren’t reading them, and probably never will.
In 10-20 years, today’s 16-34 year old consumers will make up the sweet spot of the consumer market. If this group were ever going to develop a love of print, we would likely have seen it by now. More likely, this generation of consumers will never care about newspapers.
As the generation of consumers who do care about print, meanwhile — increasingly old people (like me) who grew up on print — continues to age, the pressure on traditional print publications will continue to increase.
Some hope that the $US17 billion of ad revenue the newspapers have left will eventually begin to increase again as today’s teenagers and millennials grow up and starting reading print. More likely, the real message in the charts above is that the newspapers still have $US17 billion of print revenue left to lose.
SEE ALSO: The Future Of Digital, 2013
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