Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Newspapers Desperately Burnish Traffic Stats

Earlier this week, the New York Times (NYT) reported that online ad revenue had shrunk 6.1 percent in the last quarter. Today, newspaper publisher McClatchy Company (MNI), which publishes regional papers like the Sacramento Bee and the Kansas City Star, said Web ads were down 4.7 percent in the same period.

So please bear those numbers in mind when you read about the newspaper industry’s trade group boasting about its online traffic increasing 10 percent in the last quarter. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But the old conventional wisdom used to be: Online ads are growing, but not fast enough to offset disappearing print dollars. Now we can’t even say that.

Click table to enlarge:
newspaper-growth-stats


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work