Is free news really killing newspapers?

Those newspaper executives who seem to be casting around for someone to blame for the downfall of their empires may want to look at the lessons learned by the music industry. Of particular interest is this from today’s Guardian:

“The Norwegian study looked at almost 2,000 online music users, all over the age of 15. Researchers found that those who downloaded “free” music – whether from lawful or seedy sources – were also 10 times more likely to pay for music. This would make music pirates the industry’s largest audience for digital sales.”

Then, take a look at this from the 2008 Pew study:

“Newspapers would have suffered even greater losses without their online versions. Most of the loss in readership since 2006 has come among those who read the print newspaper; just 27% say they read only the print version of a daily newspaper yesterday, down from 34% in 2006.”

So what is really killing newspapers?

7 thoughts on “Is free news really killing newspapers?

  1. Steve Jackson

    I am absolutley convinced that newspapers are killing newspapers.

    Touched on it here: but, essentially newspapers have had it their way too long. They have done the bidding of their owners rather than reflecting their readers and the people who write them are cut off from reality.

    As soon as competition came along people gleefully gave up papers – let’s face it, maybe the question is not – can newspapers be saved? but, instead: Does anyone care enough to save them?

  2. Richard Kendall

    People power, as in the consumers of music, news or whatever, usually have their way in the end.

    If barriers are put up, somebody will find a way through.

    Media consumer choice is what’s killing newspapers, like its killing commercial TV. Watch what you want, when and where you want.

    The same is slowly happening for news. The message is clear: adapt or die.

  3. J

    How about content like George Will complaining that you shouldn’t wear denim jeans because Fred Astaire wouldn’t wear denim jeans?

    Do people really want to pay for that? It’s one example, but it’s indicative.

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