Thursday, September 30, 2010

Columnist says newspapers remain healthy in rural areas

The print newspaper model continues to hold up better in rural communities and suburbs, writes one media business columnist. After attending last weekend's meeting of the New York Press Association, Rick Edmonds of Poynter Online writes "last weekend's setting, a plush Vermont resort, and the program, speakers flown in from all over the country for a group of 45, suggested good times for members of the" NYPA. "Smaller communities and their newspapers were not immune from the 2008-2009 recession, but they seem to me buffered from a number of the problems of metros and midsized dailies," Edmonds writes, echoing what we have been saying for some time now.

He notes small papers were never as dependent on print classifieds as their big-city brethren, competition from free advertising services like Craig's List is likely to be less intense in rural areas and national advertising is less of a factor for rural newspapers. "Higher rates of circulation penetration support the case that these publications are an essential buy for local businesses," Edmonds writes. While the NYPA conference was mostly about digital issues, Edmonds argues online content and audience remain a modest share of business for rural newspapers so they are less caught up in the paid online content conundrum.

"As of this June, roughly 85 percent of papers with circulation under 25,000 still report getting less than 10 percent of ad revenues from online," Edmonds writes, citing a recent National Newspapers Association survey. "For papers with circulations over 100,000, nearly the reverse was true: nearly 70 percent now get more than 10 percent from online." The hunt for new and varied revenue streams, mostly digital, is still intense for much of the newspaper industry, Edmonds notes, but concludes it is "not so much for a solid weekly print franchise, at least for now." (Read more)

1 comment:

Ray said...

Just questioning this a little bit... as there has definintely been an impact on the classifieds of the small newspapers compared to what there was three and four years ago. Bigger question though - if less then 10% of income for smaller newspapers comes from online isn't there at least a question concerning adoption? If the smaller newspapers have been slower to adopt the new technologies and certainly slower to promote and try selling to customers doesn't it follow that the margin of income would also be less from those endeavors then there larger counterparts? I can personally say less then 10% of my income comes from selling vegetables at the farmers market, but as I have pursued the venture very hard it is not surprising.