A few weeks ago, I stopped my home delivery subscription to the local newspaper. They were having delivery issues and I finally decided that home delivery of a local printed newspaper (or concern about lack of delivery) was unnecessary. I have now officially contributed to the dramatic decline in newspaper circulation. I consume most of my news online. In fact, I get most news stories from Twitter feeds that alert me to news with links to a publisher’s website.

Advertisers pay to reach people

Nationally, newspaper ad sales have been in steep decline for years. Readership is falling for all age groups, and paid circulation is dropping, and advertisers pay to reach people. Many newspapers have been evolving into digital delivery centers—delivering news online and selling online advertising. Some require paid subscriptions to access full stories and some do not. To survive, most are expected to move to requiring subscriptions for online access to read more than the headlines.

In fact, although the trend may not continue, making online news a subscription service is boosting paid print subscriptions that include the online service. The New York Times saw an increase in online subscription traffic after implementing a paywall. (New York Times print subscriptions include unlimited online access and smartphone/tablet app access at no additional cost.)

Local relevance (and attention) are missing

But I miss reading the paper. With the paper in my hands, I would notice other stories I might not read based solely on the headline, but the photo caption or some part of the story would grab my attention. And I pour over the local weekly for stories about my town and neighborhood. It’s this local relevance that continues to make print newspaper advertising valuable. Viewers pay more attention to print ads than to online ads. That explains in large part why advertisers in many industries continue to feel they must pay for print advertising in local markets.

So, I continue to pick up my local papers at the convenience store when I buy my New York Times on Sunday. Advertisers can still reach me in print. How about you?

 

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