Hold the flowers – newspapers ain’t dead yet

Two newspapers literally worlds apart are growing readership and developing new business models. And that’s good news for communicators.

Courtesy of Statistica

Courtesy of Statista

In recent times many people have questioned how newspapers can survive in the digital age. With so much online information how can a traditional newspaper break even let alone turn a profit?

Yet some mastheads are doing just fine and redefining what it means to be a newspaper.

Which is good news for content marketers and PR people because the oldest of the traditional media is reaching more people than ever before and telling stories in new and different ways.

Canberra readership jumps

Locally, figures from August 2015 show The Canberra Times had the strongest growth of any Australian newspaper.  Total readership across print, online, mobile and tablets grew to 826 000, a significant jump from the previous month. The paper – across all platforms – now reaches 74 per cent of Canberrans older than 14 years. A figure that anyone communicating in the National Capital would ignore at their peril.

536 000 readers access canberratimes.com.au through their desktops and laptops and the combined audience on smart phones and tablets is 176 00 people.

Local print declines

The online audience may be growing but print is declining. The average net readership of the Canberra Times throughout the week is 161 000 people. This average of just 23 000 readers each day reflects a slow decline in print on paper. In the Times’ glory days the daily circulation was over 30 000 with even more on Saturdays.  That probably explains why the annual subscription to have the paper delivered to the home now costs nearly $470 – and that’s the seniors’ rate.

New York Times grows

Further afield the New York Times is steaming ahead.

In a recent CNN interview the Times Executive Editor, Dean Barquet, painted a rosy picture of the paper’s financial fortunes.  The Times declares itself the best news gathering operation in the world. Probably because the Gray Lady is cashed up enough to pay 1200 -1300 journalists to create quality content.  Annual online subscriptions and advertising bring in $400 million a year and the print edition generates twice that amount. All from one million paid subscribers of which 12 per cent don’t even live in the US.  It seems good content knows no boundaries.

New model emerges

By any account the Canberra and American numbers are impressive especially when a few years ago people were predicting the death of newspapers. These two titles although worlds apart show a new business model is finally emerging for newspapers as they pick their way through the increasingly entangled digital jungle.

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