From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age? #544505-00010

Submission Number:
544505-00010
Commenter:
Mark MacCarthy
Organization:
Georgetown University
State:
DC
Initiative Name:
From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
See attached comments. One additional point I would like to make relates to the ability of online subscription revenue to replace lost print revenue. There's a very general difficulty with this idea, which can be articulated as follows. Advertising is currently about 80% of the revenue of print newspapers. Consumers are willing to pay only 20% of the cost of putting out the newspaper. So, charging readers for online news should net, at best, the same percentage. Or put another way: at best, revenue from charging readers for online news will increase revenue only 25% above current online news ad revenue. That's far too little to help out. The Newspaper Association of America says that newspaper print ads generated $34 billion in 2008. Using the 80% figure, that means subscription revenue of about $8.5 billion for print newspapers. NAA says that online ads generated about $3 billion in 2008. So, even if online ad revenues stayed the same, (a big if since charging subscribers would almost certainly reduce readership and so ad revenue), charging readers for online news would only generate about $750 million. So looked at this way charging readers for online news cannot be a general solution to the journalism crisis.