On Digital Distribution’s Failure to Solve Newspapers’ Existential Crisis

Symptoms, causes, consequences, and remedies

Authored by: Neil Thurman , Robert G. Picard , Merja Myllylahti , Arne H. Krumsvik

The Routledge Handbook of Developments in Digital Journalism Studies

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138283053
eBook ISBN: 9781315270449
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315270449-14

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Abstract

Newspapers’ online experiments have not reversed their failing fortunes. Despite the decreases in print circulation suffered by newspapers in developed countries and two decades of investment in digital distribution, many newspapers still have a larger number of readers for their print products than for their online editions via PCs (see, e.g., NRS, 2017a; see also Chyi and Tenenboim, this volume, Chapter 12). The effects of these undersized online audiences are exacerbated by the fact that readers of digital editions are an order of magnitude or two less attentive than their print counterparts (Thurman, 2017). The result is that newspapers receive by far the greater part of their audience attention from their print channels (ibid.). This distribution of attention helps to explain print’s continued delivery of high proportions of newspaper revenue (Pew Research Center, 2016: 14).

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