Monday, May 02, 2005

Magazines and Newspapers Lose Readers


Here we go again, connect the dots time for the major media sources. This is a vital issue for their very survival: finding and keeping readers. If they fail in this quest they die. So you would think they would try very hard to connect the dots, no?


Newspaper circulation drops 1.9%, an article found via Yahoo. So one goes elsewhere on the net to read a similar story via Google news: Despite losing readers, News magazines insist they are here to stay which is all about how "The Newspaper Association of America has hired the Martin Agency of Richmond, Va. - whose clients include United Parcel Service, Geico and Miller beer - to help change the perception of newspapers from stodgy to contemporary."

Oh my. So a talking lizard and some drunks will tell me all about news magazines. Wow.

Clever ads can't sell a dumb product. Since many of us bloggers spend many happy hours mocking the press and sneering at their slow revelations about breaking news, "the New York Olds" is what I call that paper which sits on news until the egg turns sulfurous. Intelligent readers use the web now nearly exclusively. I know elderly people who cling to the paper press fearfully since they can't master the web's interface. But I know of not one young person that uses anything but the web. I used to suscribe to many things.

Now it is only the New Yorker. I read it in bed.

Newspapers and magazines may have complained when radio and television came along. But they seem to be in full panic mode now as readers and advertisers flock to the Internet.

With their advertising campaigns, poor old print is declaring that it's not going to take it anymore.

"Enough!" John Kimball, chief marketing officer for the Newspaper Association of America, said in an interview. "You read things that the industry is dead, that the Internet is eating our lunch, that everyone is watching television, that national advertising is declining in the major metros."

"But the medium is very strong," Mr. Kimball said. "There are lots of ads in the papers, and not because those people think they're making a charitable contribution. They're investing in the medium because it's delivering results."

Notice this pitch is for advertisers, not readers. The anxiety is all about ad revenue not readers. Funny, all the articles bewailing the loss of readers end up talking only about ad revenues. But those go down as readers dissappear. Connect the dots!

Then there are blogs.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch even warned the American Society of Newspaper Editors last month that the owners of traditional media cannot afford to be complacent.

Young people "want their news on demand, when it works for them. They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it. They want to question, to probe, to offer a different angle," Murdoch said. to Murdoch: we have been yelling this in your ear for the last six years and you cut off the feed. Now that it is hurting your pocket you want to let us to have "control over" our media? Well, we do. If people want only right wing tripe, there it is, undiluted, on the web! If people want something better, here it is! Heh. Will Murdoch pay me?

No way. Nor will any of the great bloggers get paid nor the army of commentators who flock to the lively blogger back talk get paid. We should but we don't expect this. We want information, we want it now and we want it without the rich man's interpetations.

The mainstream media's ability to understand anything is now as atrophied as the wings on the dodo bird.

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