The Pew Research Center released its report for the state of the newspaper industry in 2015 using 2014 numbers and the results are a jumbled mix. According to the report published on Journalism.org, the overall circulation for newspapers dropped from 2013 to 2014. But there are some interesting facts that publishers can grab onto and use as inspiration heading into the future.
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Some Interesting Facts
Despite all of the hoopla surrounding digital content and digital readership, the primary medium for the newspaper industry remains the printed newspaper. More people bought printed newspapers than accessed newspaper content online in 2014, which has to come as a surprise to many in the newspaper industry.
Another interesting fact that is pointed out by NiemanLab.org is that, while the number of people accessing newspaper websites through mobile apps far outnumbers the people accessing newspaper websites through desktop computers, the desktop people are spending up to 10 percent more time on those sites. That extra engagement is critical in driving more revenue to each newspaper website.
Mobile Is The Future
While desktop users may be spending more time looking over newspaper websites, the trend for future online newspaper advertising revenue is definitely shifting to mobile devices. In 2013, advertisers put $10.7 billion in advertising funds into mobile advertising. In 2014, that number leapt up to $19 billion and is still rising. That increase means that mobile advertising buys went from 25 percent to 37 percent in just one year. Mobile advertising revenue is definitely the wave of the future for online newspaper publishing.
Digital Revenue Is Up
The newspaper portion of that mobile advertising revenue in 2014 was $3.5 billion, which is a slight increase from the 2013 figure of $3.4 billion. But the problem is that the drastic drop in print advertising caused overall newspaper ad revenue to drop by four percent from 2013 to 2014. This continues a steady decline in overall newspaper advertising revenues that started in 2006 and has not stopped yet.
Circulation Revenue Is Up
Newspaper publishers have been trying to find ways to monetize their content for years, which includes special editions and paywalls on their websites. In 2014, it appears that those efforts are finally paying off as the income from subscriptions rose from its 2013 levels. While this is not nearly enough to offset the losses in print advertising, it still offers some hope that newspapers can continue to derive more revenue from offering premium content.
The newspaper industry can be hard to follow because accurately collecting all of the engagement and subscription data can be difficult. For example, it can be almost impossible to tell just how many new readers each day are reading the dailies or weeklies that do not charge for access to their content online. But the data does show that there is success in some areas for the newspaper industry and challenges in the other. As newspapers continue to try and figure out what kind of news people want and how they want it delivered, then public continues to give back information that is simply hard to read.