More news to depress newspaper execs

Wired news: Newspapers should Really Worry. Washington Post focus group of 18-34-year-olds found many who would not accept a subscription even if it were free. Point of article is repeat of what many already know: this age group will never acquire the newspaper-reading habit.

Lauren Rich Fine, a managing director for Merrill Lynch and a member of Poynter’s board of directors, noted some positives in her annual industry forecast, including that newspapers have a better reach than other mass market media (the broadcast industry faces even more challenges) and newspapers will continue to do will with Sunday preprint advertising. The negatives facing the industry include: its demographics are older and less attractive to advertisers, long-term circulation decline, and further loss of local help wanted advertising.

While saying nice things about newspapers, when Fine recommends stocks of newspapers she lists only E.W. Scripps, with its cable operations, and Washington Post, with its education division.

Last Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal’s advertising newscolumn looked at the lack of a rebound in newspaper advertising. Reasons given was inability to provide a compelling product from either the what’s on the web or CNN. One marketing consultant in the article said another problem was stodgy “squared-off, regimented print ads.”

Even when looking hopeful, there seems to be worries. Last month in MediaPost: Print’s Future: Full Of Changes, But Experts Say There Will Be One. “Print will see its place at the media table change over the next few years, as technology dramatically impacts both the business and users’ habits, but the medium is expected to survive and potentially thrive.”

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