Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Day 32: The Daily News

This article is part of The 100 Days Offensive. Got to Day 31 or Day 33.

A crisis like the current should be a high for the news business. The people have a need to be informed and they spend a lot more time at home and therefor could reach or watch more. Strangely the opposite is true.

If I look at my daily newspaper, you cannot not notice some portents. It has shrunk significantly. Today I joked that the newspaper has become so thin that you could the newspaper through it. But more troublesome is the reason for the shrinking. Though the sports and events section have nearly disappeared, that cannot explain the lean appearance.

No, the main reason for the loss of volume is the vanishing of the advertisement. It accounts for (my estimate) 75% of the reduction. By itself this might seem rather good news as I consider the advertisement to be dead weight. It costs me time and trash volume at little value.

But advertisement accounts for more than half of the newspaper revenue. So the newspaper have only a little bit (if any) reduced effort while being significantly short on revenue. As I pointed out before, the news business has become dependent on that source of revenue (and like other addicts paying for it with health).

My guess is that we will have to be willing to pay more for our news. Otherwise the news business may become a collateral victim of the SARS-CoV-2. But this would also include the chance that we (the reader or watcher of news) may become the customer again.

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