February 26, 2014

No, video won't save newspapers

If even Tiger Beat on the Potomac knows this, shouldn't newspapers? My No. 1 thought is for the Orange County Register and its massive video plans.

Look, the audience for local TV news continues to slip and slump, especially among younger people who also don't read newspapers.

More here, in black and white:
 What were once considered the “newscasts of record,” early evening local TV news programs have been losing viewers steadily for more than a decade. Over the past five years alone, the audience has declined almost 14%.
Why would newspapers, setting aside the expense and production quality issues, think they could do anything new here? That's doubly true when TV news revenue, like print newspaper revenue, has been sliding for a decade.

There's this, as part of that:
Local TV newscasts remain profitable. Almost 60% of news directors said their stations made a profit on news in 2011, the highest percentage since 1998.

That means that more than 40% lost revenues on local news, the lowest percentage to lose revenue since 1998.

That said, of course, the expense side can't be set aside in an industry that is still struggling to stanch print-side losses. And, per Politico, of the entities that may actually lose less money on video because of their operating structure, both Buzzfeed and Puff Hoes have no paywalls, so, if nobody's watching those pricey videos, they're not making money either way.

The only real way to possibly make ad money off online news, or "newslike," video is to have nothing more than 90 seconds with quickie ad lead-ins of no more than 15 seconds.

I still don't know what will save most newspapers. I know that starting with some sort of pay wall will at least help.

Traditional papers made some dumb decisions vis-a-vis the Net back in the 1990s. They had a change to reverse some of that in the early 2000s but were too slow off the bat. The media world today is pretty much broken, and may never be totally unbroken.

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