Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 28, 2011

Newspapers Continue To Suffer Display Advertising Woes

As the vehicle for a long-standing, immensely profitable and artistically rewarding expression of comics -- the comic strip -- newspapers and their woes over the last six to seven years have added up to a story worth watching for comics fans. There are direct (newspapers dropping strips), indirect (newspapers moving on-line) and even unexamined (how much of the staffing drops are due to technological innovation making positions redundant) elements to that wider story, one that's been obsessed over by those publications with enough resources remaining to throw at it. One through-line is that the drop in newspaper fortunes is tied into the loss of a monopoly over the kind of display advertising they routinely provided, buttressed by a similar migration in classified revenues. This analysis suggests that even with the recovery of advertising in other media, newspapers continue to be hit extremely hard. I'm not certain the solution is to expand into multiple platforms or if it's in developing strategies to more effectively reach customers with print or if it's both (it's likely both), but the thought that the bottom has yet to be reached in terms of a core piece of revenue for that industry should drive anyone with a business tied into it to a sober appraisal of where things may end up.
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