Newspapers are moving into the Digital Age, but losing money while doing it

The newspaper used to be a staple of early morning rituals in America.  Men would wake up, and peruse the pages with their cup of coffee before heading off to work, where they would then discuss the happenings in the world with their co-workers before getting on with their day.

The Internet has changed all of that, however.  People no longer have to go to subscribe to the paper, and can get all of their news online.

Going off of data found on the website Statista, which pulls data from “more than 18,000 sources” to provide viewers with accurate and up to date data on whatever they happen to be looking for, it’s reasonable to conclude that the profitability of newspapers is down, mainly because the growing digital editions of newsprint don’t bring in the same revenue that the print versions used to.

Under the basic umbrella of digital publishing on the Statista website, we can see some of the stats that showcase the aforementioned lack of profit from electronic publications.

Unfortunately, the data only goes back to 2011, but with expanding technological influence in the world, we can assume that the results may be even more indicative of high distribution and low profit.

In the United States, newspapers and magazines only made 12% of their total profit from their online distributions of their product, even though 83% of magazines and 88% of newspapers offered their material both online and in print.

Despite the fact that there is lots of content being offered online and in print, most Americans (76%) still prefer to read the print version.  The problem, however, is that those who have switched to the digital viewers aren’t producing the same profits that the print version readers are.

Take into account this graph, that shows the revenue that newspapers generate from their online and print versions.

Newspaper Ad Revenue

Ad revenue generated online is minuscule compared to the ad revenue generated in print.  With the decline in people reading the print versions, the online versions are generating more money, but it’s nowhere near enough to equal the losses seen on the other end of the spectrum.

Newspapers and magazines have to find a way to make a profit with their digital publications, or they could be looking at a slow and eventual exodus from the world of publishing.

The publication that figures out how to make transferring to the digital age profitable will become the gold standard in the field, and many others will try and copy them.  As a writer, trying to figure out which publication is going to become that first mover and jumping on their bandwagon could help lead to a nice, profitable career.


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