The Death of the News Industry - The Intrepid

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Death of the News Industry

Stack of Newspapers
No industry has been hit harder by the recession than the news industry—newspapers are slashing staff and content, network news programs are rapidly dying, and even lean online news sites are having trouble staying afloat. There’s a kind of paradox present here—although more and more people are consuming news, revenues are falling. Take the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both papers are rapidly losing money, despite having a record number of subscriptions.

The problem is that the news industry is stuck between worlds. The technology has changed, while the revenue stream remains the same. News organizations still haven’t figured out a way to make money off the internet—or at least the kind of money that print media was making in the early 90s—and perhaps they never will. Readers aren’t willing to pay subscription fees and most tech savvy youngsters now use ad-block to browse news sites ad free. Until news organizations come up with a viable way to make money off the internet, the industry is going to start to contract as moves on online.

It’s tough to predict where the rest of the news industry will go from here, but print media and network news programs are definitely on the way out. Most people under thirty rely almost exclusively on the web for their news. The majority of the people who still read print newspapers and tune into the nightly network newscasts are part of the pre computer generation—a fading segment of the population. Print newspapers and TV news will never entirely die out. Large organizations like the New York Times and CNN, and maybe even a few local news organizations, will find a way to weather the storm, but the nightly network news format will soon disappear.

As the old media format dies out, only the leanest online media providers will survive. Although we may have become accustomed to reading an endless number of news sites, in the future, the number of sites will shrink if no one figures out a way to collect new sources of revenue. The problem isn’t demand—people consume more news than ever before—the problem is that people don’t want to pay for it.

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