Pew: American Newspapers Struggle For New Business Model

Mar 06, 2012

Though many newspaper executives report struggling to find a digital revenue model, there are some papers that are succeeding, a new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ). PEJ found that its participants are losing $7 in print advertising for every $1 gained in new digital revenue.

While the papers studied on average grew digital revenue by 12%, one paper studied saw online and print ad revenue grow by 63% and 8%, respectively. And yet others cannot create digital revenue at all: One paper studied saw digital revenue fall 37%. Mobile ads accounted for only 1% of participants' 2011 digital revenue.

The majority of respondents said their digital sales efforts are focused on conventional displays (such as banner ads) and digital classified ads. Only 40% of papers say targeted advertising is a major part of their sales efforts, PEJ reports. The Pew report is based on analysis of private financial data provided by 38 newspapers as well as interviews with senior executives from 13 companies that own a total of 330 dailies.