Clueless Newspaper Found in Adless Bar
During a 2005 panel discussion about the future of newspapers, a photo of Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark was displayed and attendees were asked whether or not they recognized him or his name. Few did.
Conduct the same experiment today and the results would be much different. Newmark’s name and photo would almost certainly be recognized, and perhaps met with brief attacks of intense terror and apprehension as well. After all, Craigslist has been eating the newspaper industry’s lunch for quite a few years now, just as the broader Internet has been eating its breakfast, dinner and midafternoon pudding cup as well. And neither are leaving much in the way of crumbs as recent metrics show.
Newspaper advertising revenues, which fell almost 8% last year, have fallen another 12% since then, and company reports suggest they will fall 15% more in the next few months. Seems the Internet, which has been siphoning away the newspaper industry’s ad revenue and fragmenting its audience, has bled it to near desanguination.
“Never in my most bearish dreams six months ago did I think we’d be talking about negative 15% numbers against weak comps,” said Goldman Sachs (GS) analyst Peter S. Appert. “I think the probability is very high that there will be a number of examples of individual newspapers and newspaper companies that fall into a loss position. And I think it’s inevitable that there will be closures in this industry, and maybe bankruptcies.”