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The Devastating Effect of the Internet on Newspaper Revenue

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Andrew Sullivan posts this shocking chart on newspaper advertising revenue:

Newspaper ad revenue

There's an ongoing debate about paywalls and it seems many online media organizations will be shifting towards walling off at least some of their content in the very near future. As Hamilton Nolan points out:

For many large legacy media outlets, paywalls are inevitable, the whining of readers notwithstanding. It's very simple: producing journalism requires money. As readers flocked away from print and onto the web, newspapers and magazines found that the money coming in from online ad sales was not nearly enough to replace the money being lost in print ad sales and subscriptions. Revenue must come from somewhere to fill in this gap. If readers want to read the same content online, they will have to pay. They will whine at first, but they will get used to it.

I have to agree. Building a quality content site requires an enormous amount of time and money, and it just isn't possible to do it from online advertising revenue at the moment. I think it's a good thing that people get used to the idea that they should pay for content - they've had several years of consuming it for free, and it has devastated the industry. Without the much needed revenue, there won't be any quality writers creating content - a trend that can't last for long. As long as people enjoy reading, they'll pay for content in one way or another.