“In case it wasn’t obvious that newspapers are struggling, a new report by the Newspaper Association of America shows just how dire the situation has become,” Media Post reports.
“In the first quarter of this year, [newspaper] ad revenues plummeted to $6.62 billion, marking a 28 per cent drop from last year, according to the NAA. And it wasn’t only print ad revenue that fell. Web ad revenue also dropped 13 per cent, to $696 million.”
Sign of the times? The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) in the US is ceasing publication of its print edition to move online-only ‘to adapt our organisation to the realities of today’s newspaper business’.
Followthemedia reports on Eric Schmidt’s address to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) yesterday, in which the Google boss said he believed a mixture of ad-supported free content, micropayments and access-all-areas subscription will have to be included on the newspaper website of the future.
But according to FTM, Schmidt didn’t suggest enough ways for Google and newspaper publishers to work together – but then the publishers in the audience didn’t challenge him enough either.
“He [Schmidt] basically believes a newspaper will have its print and internet numbers right if readership is at least five times higher – preferably 10 times higher – on the web than it is in print,” says FTM.
“But again, he didn’t address, and no one asked him, how print was to stay in business with so much of the advertising spend diverted to the web and how maybe that 5:1 or 10:1 ratio could mean that the print financials were no longer viable.”
Targeted online advertising, says the group, is “not only truthful advertising speech, but advertising speech that meets their [the audience’s] interest”.
Ads are a form of free speech so long as they are not misleading, the association wrote in its comments to the commission:
“Efforts to restrict what newspaper websites publish, and the basis by which editors and advertisers make decisions regarding what to publish, run directly counter to core First Amendment rights, and can amount to a prior restraint.”
The FTC’s guidelines on this form of advertising suggest websites allow users to opt-out of the tracking process and seek consent before making use of sensitive information relating to users’ behaviour.