There’s an absolutely terrifying story about the newspaper business making the rounds today, and it’s not the one about print circulation falling another 10.6 percent. That’s hardly a surprise, given the continued rush to online — pushed along by papers like the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald raising the price of their print editions.
No, the truly ugly news is a story in the New York Times by Stephanie Clifford, who reports that companies increasingly see newspaper Web sites as a place for premium, special-event advertising, but not for everyday ads. For the latter, they use online networks, which cost a fraction of what newspapers charge.
According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Globe’s daily circulation fell 18.4 percent, and now stands at 264,105. On Sunday, it’s fallen by 16.9 percent, to 418,529. In its heyday, the Globe’s Monday-through-Saturday circulation was more than 500,000, and on Sundays it was north of 800,000.
The Monday-through-Saturday Herald stands at 138,260, down 17.5 percent. The circulation of the Sunday Herald dropped 5 percent, to 95,635.
If you had told me five years ago what the print circulation of the Globe and the Herald would be today, I’d like to think I would have been entirely unsurprised. On the other hand, I know I would have been shocked that advertising revenues had not followed from print to online.
If the eventual end of the recession doesn’t provide some relief to the beleaguered newspaper business, you really have to wonder how this will all end.