From the New York Times, things are going from bad to worse for the purveyors of ink-stained tree bark:
For newspapers, the news has swiftly gone from bad to worse. This year is taking shape as their worst on record, with a double-digit drop in advertising revenue, raising serious questions about the survival of some papers and the solvency of their parent companies.
Ad revenue, the primary source of newspaper income, began sliding two years ago, and as hiring freezes turned to buyouts and then to layoffs, the decline has only accelerated.
The article goes on to explain that the San Francisco Chronicle is losing US $1 million every week. Every week. The primary cause of this downturn is “the InternetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s siphoning away of ad revenue”.
Would I care if the physical version of every newspaper in the world went away? Nope. The real question is whether newspapers can work out a way to survive as Internet-only entities. I’d really like to see a balance sheet for, say, the Vancouver Sun, to understand how much they’d save (and how much ad revenue they’d lose) if they moved to an exclusively online format. That’s certainly not viable today, but it looks like the writing is on the wall.