Ed Driscoll

Not Waiting For The Asteroid

ad_revenue_9-6-0I’m not sure if Kate of Small Dead Animals has seen the chart that the Whiskey’s Place blog has found embedded in a Wall Street Journal article on radio ad revenues. But it seems a natural for her “Not Waiting For The Asteroid” series of blog posts on the dinosaur media.

If the projections continue,  Internet ad revenues will cross newspaper advertising sometime in the next year or two. It’s hard to determine from the chart though, how much of that newspaper ad revenue is strictly from “dead tree” newspaper sales, versus both online and print. But it does explain the accelerating “Red Queen’s Race” feel emanating from so much of the media’s actions over the past couple of years.

In a somewhat related post, James K. Glassman (H/T: VP) asks, “So why do fewer and fewer people find newspapers compelling? Call me old-fashioned, but I think that content counts”:

A major strategy for publishers has been to cope with falling circulation and advertising by cutting back on the editorial product — both space and talent. The result, quite naturally, is a newspaper of declining quality, which, also quite naturally, attracts few readers. Thus, what we see is a death spiral. It is only a matter of time — and not much time — before all but a handful of newspapers are gone.

Despite what you hear lately from politicians and aging journalists, there is no moral case to be made for news and opinion delivered with ink on paper. But it is still infuriating to watch quality fall so dramatically at institutions that should know better. A case in point….

Five months ago, the Washington Post eliminated its stand-alone daily Business section and folded it into the front of the paper. The Business section, all by itself, survives only on Sundays. The coverage, is scantier and the subject matter frothier. Today’s Business front (page G1) carries three stories. At top on the right hand side (traditionally, the lead story) is a column by Michelle Singletary on why you should not have typos on your resume. The big headline across the fold is about collectibles — concentrating on the market for 1960s guitars. The third piece, an electronic gaming column by Mike Musgrove, focuses on new Nintendo software called “Personal Trainer: Walking.”

You might think that we weren’t enmeshed in the worst economic crisis in at least a quarter-century or that the administration had not proposed a trillion-dollar-plus plan to revise the healthcare system or that the Fed not is about to face an excruciating decision on interest rates or that investors were not still deeply troubled about what to do about their 401(k) plans….

Hey, why should the Post’s business content not experience the same downward slide in quality as the rest of their reporting?