By: Alan Mutter
With newspaper ad sales falling at an unexpectedly abrupt rate, many publishers at mid-year were laying off staff, requiring unpaid furloughs, consolidating plants and taking other measures to buttress their bottom lines.
Although some analysts have interpreted these expense-cutting tactics as a repudiation of the print newspaper business by publishing companies, they are anything but. Publishers have undertaken these measures in an effort to keep their traditional businesses as strong as possible to fund the transition to digital publishing.
But they have a long way to go. Fifteen years after the commercial debut of the Internet, publishers on average still depend on print advertising and circulation for 90% of their revenues. Stop the presses and newspaper companies are out of business. It’s just that simple.