We’ve been banned from using the term ‘credit crunch’ in the maglab. Perhaps its because of the lazy journalism the phrase now appears to indicate, but the current economic crisis is not something journalists can afford to ignore.
Many people on the course have been questioning how wise the decision to spend over £5,000 on a journalism qualification is at a time when Press Gazzette’s headlines are littered with apopalyptic tales of job cuts and falls in revenue. It is a very good question.
We have (unsurprisingly) been advised by our last two guest lecturers to try and ‘make-it’ in online journalism as we watch regional news crumble at our feet, and news just in this week suggests they may well be right.
“Better than expected” is about as cheery as headlines come in this time of economic downturn, and that’s what’s happened to online revenue at Trinity Mirror and their rival Johnston Press. Year-on-year figures are not good, but there has been an increase over the last four months in money generated from online advertising. The nationals have been pretty gloamy in their coverage of this (see Media Guardian) as the death knell for print advertising is rung.
This news alone won’t save print media, but when looked at alongside news from the summer that INM has seen increases in online advertising sales and revenue it does give journalists a good idea of where to look for their pay-checks.
Interestingly, the increase in online revenue is most significant for the national publications and not the regionals, suggesting that people want a paper copy of their local rag or, as the figures suggest, people just aren’t that turned on by regional news anymore.
Figures for online revenue for magazines are harder to find, probably due to their slow turn around compared to a daily. Media Guardian reported Future publishing masked a drop in print advertising with a 39 per cent rise in online revenue, back in June. It is suggested this was boosted by the launch of Qore, a new digital edition for Sony US across the PlayStation 3 Network. Though this is specific to North America.
But Associated Press focused on the darker side to advertising revenue losses last week. They reported the audience viewing magazine content is 1.5 times as large on unauthorised sites ( defined as “unauthorized material viewed on Web sites that aren’t owned by the copyright owners.”) as it is on their own, and the average web publisher could make and extra $150,000 by selling ads alongside its unlicensed material. They also criticise the fact that internet advertising is far cheaper than print advertising and propose that newspapers and magazines will never recover their losses in online advertising, even if they were to advertise alongside their own unlicensed material. Dark days ahead indeed.