It seems every week there is more news how this or that newspaper is losing readers and profits in everything except their online division. The Editor and Publisher has a couple recent articles which highlight this trend greatly. One is the New York Times’ ongoing dilemma to start charging for access to its online content as revealed by Katharine Q. Seelye:
Executives at The Times have suggested that the paper, which already charges for its crossword puzzle, news alerts and archives online, may start charging for other portions of its content.
The common fear is this charge may cause a big drop in online traffic. This fear may be well founded as the NYT has approximately 1.4 million online readers and only 1.1 million print readers. The second article helps put this question into a brighter light. The study, “The State of the American News Media, 2005,” funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, showed that:
U.S. daily newspaper circulation, which has declined by about one-percent per year since 1990, continued to fall at that rate in 2004 [while] only three sectors of the news media — ethnic, alternative, and online — continued to see steady audience growth… “And while online media does not generally appear to be cannibalizing the old, there are some exceptions to that,” the report stated. “One is that people who go to online newspaper sites appear to be spending less time reading newspapers in print.”