According to eMarketer, the average American spends only thirty minutes reading newspapers and twenty minutes reading magazines per day. It’s significantly less compared to more than four hours of TV and video consumption and more than two and a half hours that people spend online.
The only two mediums that are taking more of people’s time are Mobile and Internet. In 2010, time spent on Mobile increased by 28.2% and is now 50 minutes on average per day, while time spent online grew by 6.2% to 2:35 hours. TV viewing has remained stable. It seems that Mobile and Internet are crowding out the print industry.
But wait, the decline of print does not mean that the news industry is dying. According to a Pew research published in September, more Americans are getting their news online. The study shows that, 34% of users responded that they got their news the day before from online sources, while only 31% reported receiving their news from a daily newspaper.
Therefore, it is not the newspaper industry that is dying, but rather the printing presses that are becoming silent. In addition, print is becoming more and more obsolete, as people turn to new tablets and online newspapers. There are two main reasons for this. First, print newspapers literally deliver yesterday’s news. Second, the entire printing and distribution operation is expensive and cumbersome, considering that readers can just as easily download the same content in seconds online.
It seems like the hardest problem for the news industry is shifting their business model to work online. Currently, the prices of online advertising are much lower than print, so it seems like newspapers are trading print dollars for online pennies. What the news (formally print) industry needs to do is to figure out a way to get more visible and effective ads on their sites.
If TV viewers were willing to wait patiently for 30 seconds while a TV spot was playing, why should online ads shy away beside the content? Readers, who are willing to view a doublespread ad in print, should also be willing to watch a full page ad or a Commercial Break online ad. After all, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and even free newspapers may run out of funding at some point.