Traditional papers are closing their doors, drastically reducing staff, and shifting all their operations online. This week the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle’s oldest business publishing papers since 1859, closed its doors after losing $14 million in the
last financial year. This follows on the heels of Rocky Mountain News, Denver paper founded in 1863, publishing its final edition after losing $16 million last year. This April the 100 year old The Christian Science Monitor closed the print operation of the paper and moved all of its content online. The Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle and Minneapolis Star-Tribune are on the verge of bankruptcy and are up for sale. The New York Daily News is losing 7% of its readership per year and took a $30 million loss in 2008. Four owners of 33 U.S. daily newspapers have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the past 2 1/2 months. Similar trends are seen in the magazine industry with a significant reduction in paid advertising pages.
The old media revenue streams (read – advertising) have dried up significantly over the past two years, and it is simply not possible anymore to keep a staff of 150 professionals and carry the cost of physically printing and distributing newspapers and magazines. Online versions of the publications require a staff of less than 20 employees and distribution is fully scalable with very low costs. Moreover, the advertising views are quantifiable and traceable providing useful metrics and targeting tools impossible to achieve with traditional media.