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Is print media doomed worldwide?

Posted December. 26, 2012 00:03,   


Prominent newspapers and magazines in major advanced economies including the U.S., France, Germany and Japan have either shut down or gone exclusively online this year, mainly due to the spread of digital media and smartphones, rise of free editions, the global economic downturn and weak advertising revenues.

Newsweek, the No. 2 American weekly news magazine behind Time, is stopping its print edition after 79 years with the Dec. 31 issue that went on sale Monday. Sluggish ad revenue for its print edition and 40 million dollars in print and distribution costs were the main culprits. Newsweek`s ad revenue last year was 141 million dollars, down 70 percent from 2007.

U.S. News & World Report, one of the three major news weeklies in the U.S., had suspended its print edition in 2008. The century-old Christian Science Monitor also decided to go exclusively online in 2009, while local newspapers such as the Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post Intelligencer also scrapped their print editions the same year.

Print media in Europe are also faltering due to the eurozone`s debt crisis.

The German edition of the Financial Times published its last edition on Dec. 7. Launched in 2000, the German edition failed to turn a profit with a cumulative deficit reaching 250 million euros (330 billion dollars). Frankfurt Rundschau, one of Germany`s top 10 dailies, filed for bankruptcy last week. Newspaper circulation in Germany went from 23.7 million in 2001 to 18.4 million this year, a 22-percent drop.

In France, La Tribune, the country`s second-largest business daily after Les Echos and founded in 1985, suspended publication on Jan. 30 this year and shifted to an online-only format. France Soir, which was once France`s top evening newspaper after being launched by the Resistance in 1941, also closed its print edition on Dec. 13 last year and went exclusively online.

In Japan, a country with a large selection of magazines, 158 magazines have either had publication suspended or shut down. The scale of the country`s magazine market fell by 6.6 percent to 984.4 billion yen (11.6 billion dollars) last year, the first year it dropped below 1 trillion yen (11.8 billion dollars) in 27 years. The market value also fell for the 14th straight year, with showing the biggest decline last year. Magazine sales had peaked at 1.56 trillion yen (18.5 billion dollars) in 1997 after rising since 1951, when related data started to be compiled, but began to steadily decline in 1997.