Is Print Dying?

by Yasmin Ben-Dror on January 21, 2009

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Just last week I read the FORTUNE magazine (Jan issue) interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his sentiments on the newspaper industry, wishing he could rescue it, and declaring his passion and want for this industry to survive! In answer to the question: What if the newspaper industry does go down? said, “To me this presents a real tragedy in the sense that journalism is a central part of democracy…”

I was agreeing with his sentiments…

Then just yesterday, Spencer Spinnell, director of Google Print Ads, posted a blog that Google is discontinuing its print ad sales program for newspapers on Feb 28 – a program that includes no less than…800 U.S. newspapers!

Spinnell says Google will continue to devote a team of people to look at how they can help newspaper companies. That’s nice. Maybe open a museum?

“It is clear that the current Print Ads product is not the right solution, so we are freeing up those resources to try to come up with new and innovative online solutions that will have a meaningful impact for users, advertisers and publishers.”

Can you imagine a world with no more newspapers? I’m not sure that will happen. But I do see a trend here. I think this industry is going to shrink enormously in the next few years, especially if more companies like Google start pulling their advertising dollars. And I’m sure they will.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

jim 01.22.09 at 2:32 am

“…like Google start pulling their advertising dollars.”

This is likely inaccurate. Google tried to make a *marketplace* for advertisers to buy ad space in print. Google wasn’t actually spending their advertising money on newspapers. The reality is that advertisers are spending their money on web (online) advertising, rather than print. Ask 100 people under 25 years old where they get their news, and I’m sure you’ll find the majority are getting it online. Google shouldn’t be expected to subsidize the newspaper industry. Times change and cultures evolve, kind of like going from horse-drawn vehicles to automobiles.

Yasmin 01.22.09 at 12:36 pm

Hey Jim, I definitely agree – times they are a changin’ – advertising is moving online. It’s reality. I was just surprised by Spinnell’s blog after I read Schmidt’s interview. It seemed like a dichotomy. But Google obviously has to take action according to what makes financial sense and where opportunity for growth lies. Even though Google did not advertise directly, this still impacts the entire industry, and will have repercussions. Will be interesting to see how this pans out and if printed newspaper will eventually die…

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