| Nov. 30th, 2015

What You Need to Know About Journalism Right Now

On Monday, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Research on Journalism published “The Search for a New Business Model,” a 27-page portrait of the news industry in transition.

The document, a product of data and interviews with 28 American newspapers, reveals the continuing tension between print and digital advertising, and the truth behind silver bullet solutions.

Here is what you need to know about journalism industry right now:

  • Print ads aren’t dead yet: Today, they account for 79 percent revenue for the publications surveyed. (The industry average is 85 percent.)
  • But they are slipping: Last year, print sales contracted by 9 percent.
  • Meanwhile, digital ad sales are growing: Digital ad sales, on average, grew by 19 percent last year.
  • But not fast enough: For every dollar of digital ad revenue gained, newspapers lose $11 in print.
  • Publications want to handle the transition to digital ads internally: Rather than employing outside firms, 88 percent of digital ad sales are handled internally.
  • Digital ads aren’t particularly smart: Non-targeted display ads and online classifieds accounted for 76 percent of digital revenue in 2011.
  • Nor are they mobile: Advertising on mobile devices accounted for just 1 percent of revenue last year.
  • Video ad space isn’t moving: Seventy-five percent of publications surveyed tried selling video ads, but none indicated it was a priority. Just 2 percent of online profits come from video ads.
  • But GroupOn might be: Daily coupon deals grew from 1 percent to 5 percent of digital revenue in the last year.
  • Subscriptions will carry more weight: Traditionally, circulation accounts for 20 percent of revenue. PEW survey participants suggested that this might rise to somewhere from 30 to 50 percent.
  • Claire Lambrecht serves as the Editorial Manager at NewsCred, a tech company connecting publishers with the world's best journalism. This post was first published on the NewsCred blog and is republished here with permission. Claire has written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, Guernica and CBS MoneyWatch. She holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Hawaii and is pursuing another from New York University.

    Disclosure: R. Stefan Deeran, publisher of the Exception, also does work for NewsCred.


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