Where now for US newspapers? | WARC | The Feed
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Where now for US newspapers?
A period of growth in subscription and readership figures at some of the country’s biggest titles has ended, while regional papers are increasingly controlled by private equity groups and hedge funds with cost-cutting agendas.
Why it matters
Political controversy during recent years helped drive consumer engagement with high-profile newspapers like The New York Times, but the headline-grabbing antics of the 45th president were made possible in part by the vacuum left by the decline in local newspapers which was filled by social media conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns.
- About half of US newspapers are controlled by private equity, hedge funds and other investment groups. The Financial Times highlights a strategy of getting rid of the newsroom, laying off staff and selling the real estate, leaving only a “ghost” newspaper.
- US publishers are not signing up to Google’s News Showcase aggregation scheme, partly because the compensation on offer is “absurdly low”.
- The Washington Post had 66 million monthly unique visitors in October, down 28% from a year earlier, according to internal documents seen by the Wall Street Journal; there were 2.7 million digital subscribers that month, down from 3 million in January.
- Traffic from non-subscribers at the Post is down 35% over two years, while active subscribers are coming less often and reading less when they do.
- Comscore data shows a smaller decline in monthly unique visitors at similarly politics-focused titles like The New York Times, which has developed a range of alternative digital offerings around areas like games and cooking.
Sourced from Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Financial Times, Press Gazette
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