Newspapers increasingly rely on readers for their income – Akron News-Reporter

Colorado’s leading business group is working harder than ever to help newspapers drive more revenue from readers as the company moves deeper into the digital age.

Dan Petit

Dan Petty, president of the Colorado Press Association and director of audience development for MediaNews Group, said internet advertising has irrevocably changed the business model of daily and weekly newspapers.

MediaNews Group owns the Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera and a number of other Colorado newspapers, including, through a subsidiary, the Journal-Advocate.

Speaking recently to members of the Rotary clubs of Sterling, Brush and Fort Morgan, Petty said that in the past, newspapers made about 80 percent of their revenue from advertising and about 20 percent from subscriptions. That ratio has changed dramatically, Petty said, as newspapers compete for a dwindling stream of ad revenue.

In 2005, the newspaper industry generated around $ 50 billion in advertising revenue, Petty said, but today that figure is around $ 8 billion. Of every dollar spent on digital advertising in the United States, about 70 cents goes to the Big Three digital; Facebook, Google and Amazon. This leaves the rest of the ad-supported media to fight for the remaining 30 cents.

“It has seriously disrupted the model by which we pay journalists,” said Petty. “The result of all of these changes is that we need the support of readers more than ever, that’s where (the funding) will come from to keep these institutions going.”

Increasingly, Petty said, people are being asked to pay for information when they click on social media links that take them to newspaper articles on the web. Big newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and even the Denver Post have installed pay walls that require readers to pay a small subscription to access articles.

“I actually think it’s a good thing,” Petty said. “It inspires us to produce information and news that you can’t find anywhere else. “

The real benefit for readers and journalists, Petty said, is that journalism on the web makes it easy to find out what people are reading, and what people are reading is information that is important to them and to journalists who are reading it. cover them.

“What you want to read is (also) what we care about,” he said. “And people are willing to pay for valuable information. “

Petty said it’s important for reporters to do whatever they can to attract readers because of the responsibility they have for the communities they report on.

“These media are institutions in the community, they report on the community in which you live,” he said. “If they’re not here, who is it?” “

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