February 7th, 2008
Feb 2, 2008. Cap Times sponsors the debut of a show featuring yours truly.
Feb 7, 2008. Cap Times announces it’s stopping daily publication.
Seriously, though, newspapers on deadtree will be less and less common this decade. The world is changing. Consider this: By the time you pick up your paper, the news your are reading is at least three hours old. The world has changed. There is now a demand for more up-to-date information. And, sadly, less demand for in-depth analysis traditionally found in the old print media.
While there is merit to the claim that the politics of the left that the Cap Times espouses may have hastened this move, they will not be the last daily newspaper to go this route. Not by a long shot.
*** UPDATE Courtesy of Drudge, the IHT provides an overview of the misfortunes of the industry.
Advertising, the source of more than 80 percent of newspaper revenue, traditionally rose and fell with the overall economy. But in the past 12 to 18 months, that link has been broken.
In 2007, combined print and online ad revenue fell about 7 percent.
In the past six decades, only one other year - 2001, when there was a recession - had a steeper decline, according to the Newspaper Association of America. Adjusted for inflation, 2007 ad revenue was more than 20 percent below its peak in 2000.
Circulation revenue has declined steadily since 2003, and the number of copies sold has fallen about 2 percent a year. Some of the largest papers - including The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe and The Los Angeles Times - have lost 30 to 40 percent of their circulation in just a few years.
The long-term shift of advertising to the Internet - especially classified ads for jobs, cars and houses - accelerated last year. The real estate downturn hit the newspaper business hard, especially in California and Florida, where real estate ads fell more than 20 percent at some newspapers.
Overall, local advertising has fallen, while “the national ad market is still strong,” said Alexia Quadrani, an analyst at Bear Stearns. “Local advertisers have been swallowed up, and there are just fewer. Your local pharmacy becomes CVS; your local hardware store becomes Home Depot.”
In the past few days, several newspaper companies have reported weak December results, and they warned that January looked similarly bad and that the situation would worsen in a recession.
“The traditional cyclical factors are turning south at the same time as the structural factors,” said Ken Doctor, an industry analyst with the research firm Outsell. “It’s a very sobering time.”
Newspaper executives and analysts say that it could take 5 to 10 years for the industry’s finances to stabilize and that many of the papers that survive will be smaller and will practice less ambitious journalism.