Friday, July 24, 2009

The impending collapse of the newspaper industry?

Ever since Ad Age put out a story on the staying power of the New York Times, I've been scanning the web for similar stories. First the biggest worrisome fact: NYT's advertising revenue has fallen by 30 odd percent fromm Y2K to now. I am guessing there are two reasons for this - a) The Internet and b) The shaky economy of America. The second can be sorted out but the first one spells trouble for most newspapers. Which is probably why Ann Arbour News (a 174-year old daily) shut down its print edition yesterday and switched to a digital version. Before you accuse me of reading too much into this stray event, go visit this site. The site has been meticulously keeping a timeline of newspaper edition shutdowns. Compare 2009 with 2008. You'll see a significant spike in the shutdowns. Well, what does that bode for India? I'd say, at the moment, there's no cause for alarm. On the face of it, more and more editions are springing up. Just the other day, Mint was launched in Chennai. But we shouldn't be misled by these events. If you dig deeper into the Presstalk blog, you'd notice debates on how newsapapers should be priced in India. Me feels, the churn has started. Newspapers are bleeding. Sooner or later we'll get to hear stories of the collapse of some dailies in India too. There will be one difference though. The Government of India might just bail out these guys by calling them 'Institutions'. Let's wait and see how this pans out.

Posted by Anantha.

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