Media Business Analyst and Leader of News Transformation, Poynter Institute
Rick Edmonds is a Media Business Analyst and Leader of News Transformation at the Poynter Institute, where he has co-authored 10 State of the News Media reports. He was previously a reporter at the Tampa Bay Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The traditional ones for newspapers were circulation subscriptions and advertising. It used to be that ‘other’ was just a very tiny, little sliver of things. ‘Other’ has gotten a lot more important for newspapers. That includes marketing services, digital marketing services, email management, all that kind of thing to the same local businesses you serve with advertising, events, maybe increased commercial printing for us who still have their own printing presses. So you could say that the revenue base is diversifying. It’s a little bit of the same story; it’s hard to increase those quite quickly enough to offset what’s fading away, especially print advertising. Broadcast is a little bit more straightforward. The traditional source is advertising, but as you know, they’ve had sort of a second booster, a pretty good picture with retransmission fees, so the cable companies are paying for carrying them, as was not uniformly the case five, 10 years ago.
I think, frankly, the state of print is difficult. We’re reaching a stage where organizations from The New York Times on down are basically pricing subscriptions more aggressively. You could say that’s righting a wrong from the old days when the papers were sold very cheap because advertising was so abundant, but it’s a tough sell.
I don’t look at a TV newscast and say it’s a shadow of what it was five years ago, but neither does it seem especially innovative or ambitious.