Wall Street Journal, New York Times Print Nears End

May 21, 2016

Print newspapers, once the standard bearer of global media, are struggling to remain afloat despite ad market booms as digital platforms continue to rise.

It's been long speculated the bulk of print sources would fold as digital sources quickly replace them by being more accessible and more affordable. But according to a piece published on Medium.com, print media's free fall is happening even faster than analysts believe.

The post compares the levels of newspaper circulation between March 2013 and September 2015 for some of the largest, most reputable print sources in the United States. The average point circulation for the Wall Street Journal almost reached 1,500,000 in March 2013, and barely stayed above 1,000,000 in September 2015.

The New York Times saw a similar decline, dropping from 731,000 to just 528,000 in that same time period.

THE GUARDIAN Says Newspapers Lose On Advertising
National newspaper groups have been hit by a "perfect storm" of advertisers reassessing the value of print spend en masse, while the popularity of Google and Facebook helped push digital ad growth down to a trickle.

IRISH TIMES Says Editorial Content Suffers
The editorial context of newspaper articles may be lost when they appear online, while the process of translating popular digital media genres to print can get a bit silly. The floor between the two stools is littered with content that made sense in one format but not the other.

MEDIA POST Says Some Companies Are Adjusting
While UK newspapers face the same travails as their American counterparts in their domestic market, in recent years many British publications have turned to the U.S. as a major English-speaking market to fuel global growth.

Advertisers Abandon Print

As readership transitions from print news to digital platforms, advertisers are following the money.

At the end of April, The Guardian reported newspapers in the United Kingdom were hit by a so-called "perfect storm" - noting print advertising fell by almost 10% in 2015 alone. Tabloid titles saw an even worse decline, falling by 16.2%.

Despite these unfavorable statistics, the rest of the advertising market grew - supported greatly by digital and mobile platforms. Television advertising also rose by 7.3%.

However, many newspaper entities have not lost hope. In October 2015, a McKinsey report claimed the exodus from print to digital was over.

"We believe that many of the people likely to abandon print newspapers and print consumer magazines have already done so," the report said. "We believe most of this core audience — households that have retained their print subscriptions despite having access to broadband — will continue to do so for now, effectively putting a floor on the print markets."

The media and entertainment industry is in the midst of one of its most significant transition periods since the introduction of television. Thanks to the instantaneous nature of the internet, news readers have become far less patient, and print has by and large failed to adjust.

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