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Newspaper Industry Today: More Ads, Less News

At the Oslo headquarters of Schibsted, a Norwegian newspaper firm, the first thing that greets the visitors is the hand-operated printing press made in 1856, clean, polished ‘n spotless. To an outsider it looks antique sculpture than a printing unit. Although the founder; Christian Schibsted, takes great in showcasing this machine, his company is in fact running away from its printed era past.

Until the year 2006, the company had made losses for five years and decide go online. In the first year itself the newspapers activities on the Internet contributed 35% of company’s operating profits, and the percentage has been increasing since. More or less, every newspaper around the globe may have a similar story to tell. The present day situation; however, is different. The readership is concerned because newspapers (print and online) carry more number of Ads than the news itself. Owing to this fact the circulation has taken a big hit, resulting into losses for the publishers.

The present state of the business:
The year 2014, was perhaps the only year when the circulation revenue, world-wide, was more than the Ad revenue. And, the general consensus on the news business is – the revenue that the advertisers provided over the years, as compared to the news content – is gone. This may be true, but it still does not answer the concerns of the readership; extremely low quality of news content.

In their battle to earn more revenues, either by news content or by way of Ads, the focus on investigative journalism, news items we so want the newspapers to cover is declining by the day. As a reader, it is an extremely disappointing experience, when you look for news that is hidden amongst the Ads… The newspaper agencies; therefore, are look for more (and better) business models.

Most newspaper companies are very old, and the first challenge that they need to overcome is the transformation to the digital age. Basically, how to keep their revenues up in print until the digital model matures.
This can happen only if you have news that has substance. If this does not change, time is not far away when people will stop reading printed newspapers. People around the world like short stories and news content that is relevant to them: local reporting, sports, entertainment, weather and traffic, and then they will look for world news. This is element is missing to a great extent in today’s news. Some newspaper companies have realized the need for this change; they are trying to make their journalism more local.

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