OECD study on newspapers: good news, bad news

The National Post cherry-picked one quote from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD)  to put a positive spin on the future of newspapers: “Newspapers ‘here to stay’: OECD study”, but the facts in the study are decidedly more mixed. Canadian newspaper revenue fell 17 per cent between 2007 and 2009 (the US decline was even more dramatic: 30 per cent decline), the developing world is showing the most growth (good if you live in Uganda) and in some OECD countries (unnamed, but likely western European) the situation is “alarming.” The upside is that other revenue streams are starting to show up; the New York Times in my opinion reflects this best: trying to charge for Internet access at the beginning, reversing that in the face of web culture that everything is free, now going back to a subscriber based system next year as web culture matures and more users recognize they are paying for stuff on the and popular web sites like Wikipedia and Youtube have revenue issues that may result in their demise. Worth a look, but don’t be fooled by newspaper headlines.

National Post, June 15 2010

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