Digitization of content has moved advertisement away from the content creators to the platform and has moved consumers closer to the content than ever before. The newspaper industry, long supported by ad dollars and print newspapers distribution, has naturally suffered from this. Here’s a look at how the New York Times managed to survive despite negative market forces:
As content becomes digital, advertisements become digital. Within the digital advertising landscape, almost all of the growth in this market is going to Google and Facebook, which already account for 60-70% of the overall market. That means advertising dollars are no longer going to NYT.
A strong and well-executed pivot to the digital world allowed NYT to maintain its bottom line – this is demonstrated by the rapid growth in digital subscription revenue.
This is an indication that the future is reader-oriented, and newspapers will have to cater to readers much more than before. While newspapers can now be less concerned about offending large corporate interests that may pull advertising, there’s a risk of reporting only on the content/perspective people want to read about (e.g., reinforcing existing beliefs or distributing fake sensational news) than what’s truly important.