Charles Layton of the American Journalism Review is the latest to run the numbers and see little hope for the major metro daily. It turns out that a simple forecast of revenue trends last fall by Recovering Journalist’s Mark Potts was probably too rosy in envisioning a straight annual decline of five percent in print revenues offset by a growth rate of 20% in online revenues. When you extrapolate the recent numbers reported by the Washington Post, you come up with uglier picture.

Revenues decline through 2014 before bottoming out and beginning a slow upward climb. However, by that point the Post is less than two-thirds its current size, and it doesn’t get back to its current size for many years. And the Post, by the way, is better positioned than most newspapers to survive the coming collapse of print advertising. Layton concludes what readers of NDW have long known: many major metro dailies will fail completely. Quoting Potts: “If a big newspaper in a metropolitan area dropped dead right now, nobody under 30 would care.” He stops short of agreeing with our forecast of five survivors in the US by 2025, but he believes many markets will be left without a newswpaper.

Layton quotes Miles Groves, formerly of the American Newspaper Association: “Newspapers had time to take control of the digital world and be the owner of that franchise and we didn’t do it.That opportunity has come and gone.” Groves expects free distribution newspapers to take up much of the slack in cities that can’t support a major metro daily. (via Romenesko).

Forecast of Mass Media Death Wasn’t Wrong, Only Premature

Murdoch Sees Plenty of Headroom for WSJ

Rupert Murdoch sees a brighter future for print. “Print will be there for at least 20 years, and outlive me,” he tells The Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg in an interview at the D conference. Note that he didn’t say “newspapers.” Murdoch does think the Journal will do fine. “New York Times charges $500 a year for subscription…now we charge about $150 a year. We still have a long way to go.” But he adds that the Journal has too much management overhead. “Every piece of story in WSJ has on average about 8.3 editors involved…that is ridiculous. You have to get all of the facts in half the space.” (via Romenesko).

Layoff Log

  • The Seattle Times Co. is reportedly laying off workers at its Maine newspapers. The Newspaper Guild in Portland, Maine, says the Portland newspapers would lay off up to 35 employees. However, the parent company hasn’t confirmed the report. The Seattle Times has been besieged by the weak business climate in its area and has been scrambling to unload its Maine properties, which are a legacy of the owner Blethen family.
  • Cablevision Systems Corp. hasn’t yet taken ownership of Newsday from Tribune Co., but heads are rolling nonetheless. Newsday reported on Friday it had laid off 32 employees, half in operations management and half from Star Community Publishing. The paper already cut 120 positions in March.
  • The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis is cutting 55 jobs from its 700-person staff because of slow advertising sales. Cuts will be completed by July 1. The Scripps-owned daily has a circulation of about 150,000.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2008 at 11:50 am and is filed under BusinessModel, Demographics, Journalism, Layoffs, Local news, Murdoch, NewMedia, Newspapers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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