These numbers are just gruesome. Quoting:
On Oct. 28, the Conference Board announced that its consumer confidence index had plummeted to an all-time low of about 38 out of 100, a drop of over one-third from its level of 61.4 in September. The expectations index–which evaluates consumer sentiment about the future–went even lower, dropping from 61.5 to 35.5. Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s research center, said the decline in the confidence index was “the lowest reading on record” since the index began tracking consumer attitudes in 1985.Macy’s said it will eliminate all magazine advertising in the first half of 2009, although its holiday marketing budget is still largely intact. Subsequently, The New York Times reported that Neiman’s specialty retail segment–including Neiman Marcus Stores and Bergdorf Goodman–saw sales tumble 27.6% in October, while Nordstrom is down 15.7%, and Target fell 4.8%.
It used to be that three mainstream media channels – newspapers, radio and magazines – reliably predicted the economy’s decline into a recession and its recovery. That all changed about three years ago. Newspapers and magazines fell while the economy was rising and show no sign of anticipating a recovery. The results, writes Erik Sass:
“While softening ad revenue anticipated the two previous economic downturns by about a year, in the most recent case, the slowdown for magazines, newspapers and radio began about three years before. In addition, the declines have already proven to be steeper in this pre-recession period than at the height of the previous ones. This suggests that all three traditional media, suffering from both secular and macroeconomic trends, are poised to suffer unprecedented losses in the economic downturn that is now unfolding.
Cost pressures and plunging share prices prompted Canadian publisher and broadcaster CanWest Global Communications Corp. (TSX:CGS) to cut 560 jobs – about five per cent of its workforce – Wednesday as the company faces a rougher economy and more competition.
The Winnipeg company said about 210 jobs will be cut at through a restructuring of news operations at CanWest Broadcasting’s E! stations.
CanWest Publishing, which operates the former Southam chain and other papers, will see about 350 positions disappear through a restructuring of the community newspaper group.
The New York Post‘s Phil Mushnick beats up on a favorite print-media whipping post: TV news:
The freshest genuine news that local TV newscasts now provide are weather forecasts, unless you count updates and previews of “American Idol,” “Survivor” and “Dancing With The Stars.”Quoting a friend from TV land: “Today? There are reporters I work with who just want to be on TV. They’d be game-show hosts. It doesn’t matter to them. The only original stories we report these days is what [bleep] to watch on the network, that night. It’s depressing.”It’s frightening stuff. The decline of newspapers is far more than a story about newspapers. It’s a huge TV story, an encouraging trend for the corrupt and a development that should scare the daylights out of everyone else.
NPR is already crowing about the appointment of Vivian Schiller, formerly general manager of NYTimes.com, as its new CEO. Schiller guided the Times through some difficult periods, including its migration from a part-paid to an all-free business model. She also oversaw two redesigns that were considered groundbreaking. At NPR, she’s expected to accelerate a multimedia makeover that will expand the organization’s footprint broadly into video.
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