Revenue vs. Readership

The debate over the internet’s effect on traditional news readership remains open, but it is certain that overall news readership has increased over the past ten years. Unfortunately the other certainty in the news industry is that overall revenue has decreased even as online readership increases, as shown by this chart from the economist. While the decrease in revenue during 2007 and 2008 might be blamed on the recession, the Economist notes that, “Online advertising money has moved to search—ie, Google—and excess supply has depressed prices of display advertisements.”

Despite this decrease in revenue there exist a number of specialist online outfits that have remained profitable by charging readers money. The two most mentioned organizations are The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, both of which require payment for those who wish to view more than a certain number of articles per month.

There is one more statistic that bears mentioning. It comes from the Pew Centre’s poll on media usage which found that over the past decade the number of 18-24 year olds who received no news at all via any medium rose from 25% to 34% over the past decade. This alarming decrease indicates that the internet might not be to blame for decreased revenue, rather an increasing disinterest in news from today’s youth is diminishing the overall readership base for all forms of news.

Next: How Has Journalism Changed?

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