web analytics

As newspapers die, what comes next?

Written By: - Date published: 4:16 pm, November 25th, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

sinkingherald200The recession, combined with the long-term shift to internet-based media struck a king-hit to US newspapers over the last year. Circulation fell 10.9%. There is now just one newspaper produced per day for every ten Americans (produced, not sold, many are given away). In the UK, things were slightly better but the drop was still 3.9% on a year ago – hardly a positive state of affairs. I’ve compiled the circulation numbers for New Zealand from the Audit Bureau of Circulations and they’re interesting reading.

The big three dailies have really suffered. Between them the Dompost, the Press, and Granny Herald lost 5% of their circulation in the year to June on top of a similar loss the year before.

The Herald’s circulation has crashed by 11%, 21,000 copies, since March 2007 – over that time it has been reducing its printing run by nearly 800 papers per month. It lost 7% in the last year alone – perhaps its flagrantly pro-National editorial stance drove some readers away too.

The weekend papers are also in trouble. The Herald on Sunday has held up OK but the Sunday News lost nearly 18% of its circulation in the last 15 months. The Sunday-Star Times lost 6% over the same period (and they’re giving them away, you can now get one free with your Burger King in some places).

What’s interesting is that the regional papers have held up comparatively well, only losing a couple of percent over the last few years. There’s probably several explanations – lower internet use in the provinces, worse internet sites – but I think the pivotal one is lack of competition. The local papers remain the best source of local news, whereas the national papers have to compete with other nationals plus the plethora of websites focused on politics and other issues at a national level.

Which gets me to my point. On RNZ yesterday Geoff and Sean had to leave the studio for a fire-alarm and they put on the BBC while they were out. A man was being interviewed about the transformation of media. He referred to broadcasters who try to cover everything as ‘legacy media’ from a time when the relatively few and expensive means of mass communication made such an approach advantageous. But now, he said, the game has changed. Successful media of the future will provide what they excel at and “link to the rest”.

So what do you reckon? Narrow-cast media outlets, focused on one type of information or news but consciously and actively part of a community of other outlets with their own specialties – does it sound like the way of the future to you?

19 comments on “As newspapers die, what comes next?”

  1. I don’t think newspapers will die, if there is a major big story people will still want a copy of something they can hold in their hands.

    Still media outlets will always play to their audience.

    • fizzleplug 1.1

      Especially in the provinces. Manawatu beating Canterbury in 2008 in the NPC? Front page news.

      Can’t frame the internet (well, you could print it, but it’s just not the same). Even if all it is is a collection of tubes.

  2. The thing is – why pay for ill-informed opinion, partisan editorialising and property/business advertorials when you can get all that for free – and with a comments thread – on the internet? The only area of modern NZ newspapers were they seem to still offer a service worth paying for is in the sports sections analysis and comment.

  3. Good post marty 🙂

    I see Murdoch is trying to introduce pay-for-view on line news which could be the start of something as is controlling which search engines can index pages.

    Not only do you have the technological news issues, you have the growth of entertainment as news.

    As you point out, as the connected world shrinks, the national media lose their advantage – I tend to sample around Aus and UK media (as well as my favourite blogs of course :)).

    We’ve canvassed this point in the past but one of the ironies is that the blogs typically rely on the news media as reference points … imagine the Standard without the daily condemnation of the Granny!

    The final point of course is that the newspapers rely on advertising, not news. So long as the advertising works, there will be newspapers (just like fish and chips).

  4. Lanthanide 4

    “There is now just one newspaper produced per day for every ten Americans (produced, not sold, many are given away). ”

    So someone is producing Americans, and they’re given away for free instead of being sold? Where can I sign up?

  5. Lindsey J Rea 5

    I cancelled my subscription to the Herald during its so called “Democracy Under Attack” campaign and I have not advertised with them for a couple of years since they stuffed up a very simple advertisement and did not even have the manners to let me know. I have moved my advertising to Trade Me. I would pay for a good news service online.

  6. I prefer blogs. It is vital that Governments put all of their information on the Internet so you can then sit back and read the informed intelligent analysis of the information by people with particular interests and then read the debates. This is far better than what we had before.

    Like Lindsay I gave up my Herald subscription some time ago. If I want one eyed views and bias I can go to http://www.national.org.nz for this.

    • lukas 6.1

      Oh please. Going on about the “media bias” is pathetic. It swings both ways, stop playing the victim card.

  7. Rex Widerstrom 7

    Narrow-cast media outlets, focused on one type of information or news but consciously and actively part of a community of other outlets with their own specialties does it sound like the way of the future to you?

    Lor no, it sounds like I’d used Windows 7’s spiffy new “read aloud” feature on “The Standard” 😀 Or worse, like I’d somehow accidentally tuned to Radio Live while Micael Lhaws was on and then my arms fell off (mind you, I’d still try to change the stantion with my toes, or indeed any other handy appendage).

    In short, a very narrow cast indeed, banging on and on about the same topics. While that can be great for those who are obsessed with the topic if the medium is good (e.g. my first example) and hell on earth if it’s bad, these are things I want to do for only a small part of my day. Thus the advertisers get very little value and the medium gets very little funding and it becomes either a labour of love or topples at the edge of the financial abyss (again, refer my examples above respectively).

    In contrast I can have ABC Radio National or RNZ’s National Radio on all day, because I’ll be taken from politics to recipes to outer space without having to think about what I want.

    To torture a metaphor – narrowcasting is like being fed your favourite food and nothing else. Too much and you not only start to feel sick but you lose your appetite.

    Many narrowcasters is like a restaurant – often you’re not sure what you’d like, so you choose one thing from the menu and are disappointed.

    But a good broadcaster is like a degustation menu. Always full of surprises, challenging you to try things you wouldn’t pick off a menu, and leaving you wanting more.

    Call me a Reithian, but I want media that’ll inform and educate, but also surprise.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

No feed items found.

  • Pacific partners work together to provide additional support to Australia
    The NZDF continues to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles fires in Victoria and New South Wales, including by transporting Republic of Fiji Military engineers from Nadi to Australia, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. On Saturday morning a NZDF Boeing 757 will depart New Zealand to uplift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive PGF funding: A $9.88 million investment to begin the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Govt accounts in surplus, debt remains low
    The Government’s books are in good shape with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the five months to November. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above forecast by $0.7 billion resulting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Auckland focus for first Police graduation of 2020
    The number of Police on the Auckland frontline is increasing with the graduation today of a special locally-trained wing of new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of eighteen officers from Recruit Wing 333-5 means that more than 1900 new Police have been deployed since the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wairarapa gets $7.11m PGF water boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund is putting $7.11 million into creating a sustainable water supply for Wairarapa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The following two projects will receive Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding: A $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Limited for the pre-construction development of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Progress with new Police station in Mahia
    Community safety and crime prevention in the East Coast community of Mahia has moved forward with the opening of a new Police station to serve the growing coastal settlement. Police Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the new station, which was relocated almost 20 kilometres along the coast from the nearby ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Plans to protect the future of whitebaiting announced
    With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve management of whitebait across New Zealand. “The need for action for a healthy whitebait fishery has never been greater,” Eugenie Sage said.  “Four of the six whitebait species are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change
    A new Ministry of Education resource available for schools in 2020 will increase awareness and understanding of climate change, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The resource, Climate Change – prepare today, live well tomorrow, will help students understand the effects of climate change at a local, national and global ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Getting more out of our most productive firms
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has approved the terms of reference for an Inquiry into the economic contribution of New Zealand's frontier firms. Frontier firms are the most productive firms in the domestic economy within their own industry. “These firms are important as they diffuse new technologies and business practices into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZDF sends more support to Australia
    The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending an Environmental Health Team, a Primary Health Care Team and a Chaplain to Australia, boosting New Zealand support for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles bush fires in Victoria and New South Wales, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand joins partners in calling for full investigation into air crash in Iran
    Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters says that developments suggesting a surface-to-air missile is responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight in Iran is disastrous news. “New Zealand offers its deepest sympathies to the families of the 176 victims. It is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Staying connected to Australian agriculture
    Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, says the Ministry for Primary Industries is continuing to stay connected to federal authorities in Australia as devastating fires affect the country.  “The Ministry is using an existing trans-Tasman forum for discussions on the agricultural impact of the fires and the future recovery phase,” says Damien ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Investment in schools – a commitment to communities
    Thousands of school-age children, their teachers and wider communities are benefiting from the Government’s multi-million dollar investment upgrading and renewing schools, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “We want New Zealand to be the best place to be a child and that means learning in warm, comfortable and modern classrooms,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Defence Force sends support to Australia
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark today announced New Zealand is sending three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, and two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections as well as a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts in tackling the Australian fires.  The New Zealand Defence Force ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better access to books for blind and low vision citizens on World Braille Day
    "Today is World Braille Day and I am delighted to announce that an international treaty giving blind and low vision New Zealanders access to books and literary works comes into force today,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “Today the Marrakesh Treaty and the associated amendments to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to send further firefighter support to Australia
    The New Zealand Government is sending a further 22 firefighters to help fight the Australian fires. “The devastation caused by these fires is taking a substantial toll on our Australian neighbours and we will continue to do what we can to assist as they deal with this extremely dynamic, dangerous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Reducing the cost of education
    Twenty-two more schools have opted into the Government’s policy of providing $150 per child to schools who don’t ask parents for donations– bringing the total number of schools in the policy to 1,585. The Ministry of Education has accepted late opt ins past the November 14 deadline from schools that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Road deaths lower in 2019, but still more work to do
    “As we enter the new decade, my thoughts are with the families, friends and communities of the 353 people who lost their lives in road crashes last year. While the number of deaths is lower than in 2018 (377), this is still a staggering loss of life,” Duty Minister Iain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates New Year 2020 Honours recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated the diverse group of New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to the country and their communities in the New Year 2020 Honours List.   The list of 180 honours recipients includes three Dames and three Knights Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Justice Minister congratulates first Māori Supreme Court judge on New Year’s Honour
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has congratulated The Honourable Justice Joe Williams for receiving a knighthood for services to the state. Sir Joe Williams has been appointed as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year 2020 Honours List. “Sir Joe Williams has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Year honours for top sportspeople
    Twenty-one of New Zealand’s top sportspeople, coaches and leaders in the sporting community have been recognised in the New Year 2020 Honours List. The Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua has been made a Dame Companion and the former All Blacks Steve Hansen has been made a Knight Companion of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Leading architect of Zero Carbon Bill honoured
    It’s great to see ordinary New Zealanders doing extraordinary things, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw today said in response to the news that Lisa McLaren is included in the New Year 2020 Honours List for her exceptional work leading the campaign for the Zero Carbon Bill. Lisa McLaren was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Social entrepreneurs and innovation leads Pacific contribution
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the New Year 2020 Honours List highlights the valuable contribution Pacific social entrepreneurs and innovators make to New Zealand, the Pacific region and the world. “The standout common factor that underlines their contribution to Aotearoa is the value they place in their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Service to birds and bush recognised in New Year Honours
    Decades of dedication to Aotearoa’s unique birds, landscapes, and native eels is recognised in the New Year 2020 Honours List said Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “I’m delighted that the decades of dedication to conservation, and fantastic leadership in giving nature a helping hand is being acknowledged,” said Eugenie Sage. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Closer Economic Partnership with Singapore comes into force on 1 January
    New Zealanders will start to see the benefits of the upgraded Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) with Singapore from 1 January 2020, when the agreement comes into force. Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said the agreement would open more opportunities for New Zealand companies looking to do business with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago