Here's a news flash, newspapers continue to have declining circulation numbers over the past 4 years courtesy of editor and publisher. It totals about 1.4 million per day and with the exception of USA Today and the NY Post these guys are getting killed. WSJ which I still subscribe to ($99 for both paper and online) lost 3.8% but some of my favorite losers were NY Times at 7.2 and LA Times at 20.2. One I still subscribe to also The Star Ledger got whacked by 13.6%. Me, I think it couldn't have happened to a nice bunch of laggards than the newspaper industry.
I've hated print advertising for years for its lack of direct tracking, lack of animation, and lack of visual pleasantness. If you are spending money for a print campaign you are 100% better off online and it has been that way for a while. You can track, finely target, run better looking ads, and you are guaranteed to have your ad shown to people. Print, none of that is true.
I've actually been thrown out of a couple of meetings because I argued so hard against print. The only valid reason I've ever seen for wasting money in print ads is that our executives want to see the ads on the back cover of Barron's or some paper. The only real exception I'd make for print advertising is your local community newspaper, but even that is going away especially when they do a nice site overhaul like my local one just did over at the Observer Tribune. For fun and to revisit a post I made a few years back check out this oldie but goodie post I made called Ketel One Marketers Need to Go Back to The Drawing Bar and read the comments where I was under fire from agency folks defending their livelihood.
So what do I think is going on? Simple. You get your news faster online, RSS feeds, Twitter if that's your flavor, and round the clock news on TV. It isn't that the content is bad (unless it is filled with garbage like The NY Times these days) it is really yesterday's news by the time you get it. Something like the Journal still interests me because I get in depth analysis and the print format of the WSJ is preferable to me than online. The Star Ledger, well that's my early morning read and men's room read, but I'd give it up in a second if NJO.com wasn't so archaic. USA Today and The NY Post deliver that quick news story and their format feeds America's need for news as entertainment.
Newspaper circulation has been disappearing for years and will continue to dwindle. Move your ad budgets out ASAP and put them to work in a better medium like the internet. It is about time you did.