…and this isn’t all that surprising. With internet access cheaper and easier than ever before, and the public can access the same articles that they would read in the newspaper, online. As Crikey reported, in 2011:
The improvement for some titles (The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, Sunday to Saturday) will provide little other than temporary relief as restructuring costs and falling advertising revenues continue. News Corp revealed this week in its second quarter results that it took a $US36 million restructuring charge against its Australian papers (and some in Britain).
There are a lot of statistics and percentages to report, but what it boils down to is simply this – newspapers are losing money (Fairfax and News Limited alike). Less comes in from advertisers, and less people are buying newspapers, with just over a ten percent fall between 2007 and 2011.
Another Crikey article reported in November of last year that two daily newspapers, the Tweed Daily News and The Coffs Coast Advocate were to have their paid editions closed (the free editions, free on Saturday for the Tweed and Wednesday and Saturday for Coffs Coast, were to be continued). Further evidence to the fact that newspapers are fast losing their cost-effectiveness.
While it remains unclear as to whether the printed newspaper will survive (and if so, for how long?) it seems clear that the trend is, and has been for a very long time, towards accessing our news online.
I certainly can’t remember the last time I held a printed newspaper.
While Fairfax and News. Limited publications all have their articles available online, they have yet to solve the problem of how to provide an alternative revenue stream that won’t alienate customers. People don’t want to pay to access news online.
All this talk of ‘restructuring costs’ makes me ask another question – are these news corporations simply trying to renew interest in the more traditional models of journalism, instead of trying to evolve and work with some alternative ones? The digital age has opened up a wide range of possibilities, and simply moving the content from one platform, to another, isn’t a viable solution.