Friday, October 31, 2008

Extra! Extra! Newspaper Publishers Refocus on Boomers

Faced with steadily declining readership -- as much as three percent in the past year alone -- daily newspapers have been desperately redesigning themselves to appeal to a broader cross-section of subscribers. Some publishers have finally figured out that they're only hurting themselves: alienating the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation readers who still do read newspapers.

Writes Joe Strupp in Editor & Publisher:

Some papers are finding that recent efforts to overhaul their daily print product with full redesigns, more "lite" news, cutbacks in story length, pages, and newshole, and even changes to the size or design of the paper's flag often elicit a backlash.

While editors and publishers caught up in the redesign craze claim that changes are needed to attract new subscribers, they may be losing their best customers by chasing non-readers — and chasing away confirmed readers. Statistics show that baby boomers (those between 44 and 62), are the largest demographic of loyal print readers in the U.S.
At last, publishers are figuring it out: They are in the news & information business, and they publish two products (newspapers and web sites) aimed at distinct markets (Boomers/Silent Generation and Gen X/Gen Y). The newspaper market is slowly dying out but it's still lucrative: Boomer readers have as much discretionary spending power as all other generations combined. Publishers need to milk that cash cow as long as they can before ol' Bessie tips over. With luck, they will have developed a business model by then that allows web sites to create their own content and remain profitable.

Boomer Project bottom line: Publishers need to make newspapers the best they can be for Boomers and seniors, and make web sites the best they can be for younger generations. Trying to make the two distinct products all things to all people will take newspaper companies straight to the media graveyard.
(Photo credit: American RadioWorks.)

1 comment:

Groveton said...

So, I am a boomer and I can't deal with a web site? LOL as they say. I send little Gen X and Gen Y babies back for a technology diaper changing every day.

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