Sly Baily, CEO of Trinity Mirror, became the latest newspaper exec to make the extraordinary claim this week that the downturn in print advertising is a more a cyclical than structural phenomenon (Guardian).
This is a claim trotted out from time to time by optimistic print executives: it’s last fervent proponent was Tim Bowdler at Johnston in December (Independent), by an amusing coincidence just after his group launched a flurry of initiatives to secure a share of the growing local digital market and began converging newsrooms. Manifestly, while there may well be some cyclical elements to the current downturn of print advertising, it is fundamentally a structural phenomenon as every generation since at least the Second World War has contained fewer newspaper readers than the last (see as ever Philip Meyer’s Vanishing Newspaper) and attention, especially amongst those people most attractive to advertisers, continues to relocate from print to web.
Every person who finds a job online is a person who has not used a newspaper for that task.
Fifteen Twenty years ago there was no web and no jobs websites. In November, says comScore, in the UK slightly more than nine million people - almost a third of the online population - looked for a job online. That's a structural change.