Newspapers are confronted with pressures top down and bottom up. Forces from the bottom up are clear: consumers are using all sorts of media to get their news and be informed about the things they care about. It is not just tv, the use of social media turns rapidly into a very efficient way to spread the news. Twitter functions as a filter. People you follow point towards possibly relevant news. Facts are selected by friends and offered for free. Facebook and the likes spread news though circles of friends and communities. Remember Pointcast? It seems push all over again. News, whatever that may be, is definitely not exclusive anymore. It is on offer all the time and everywhere.
And if people want to know something, have a question, need to find an answer? They use Google to pull it out of the cloud. Don’t they?
And there is this other thing: newspapers started to give away their content for free. Why? Probably because these start-ups were already publishing newsfeeds or just because all the papers were moving to the web. That’s the place to be. We don’t want to miss this train, although we don’t have a clue where it will take us. Anyway, it just happened.
And for most consumers it’s really very simple: why buy a paper, if there is no news in it? Know it, saw it, what’s new?
From above, top down, revenue streams are under pressure maybe even more. Advertisers seem to think that if people don’t read newspapers, why bother to place an ad?
Of course situations are different in different cultures and countries. Not all countries are the US. Not all newspapers depend on advertisers that much. In Europe subscriptions still look interesting. And some newspapers that serve very specific communities, seem to be better off.
The point I am trying to make is that newspapers have to fight on two fronts: basicly it is BTB and BTC. Attract advertisers and convince them to advertise. Attract and keep readers. Having to fight on two fronts is quite a challenge. It is tiresome.
And when someone is tired, there is no energy and creativity to enhance the quality of the product.