Frag Proof Friday




After my newspaper death blog yesterday I feel duty bound to point to an optimistic slide show from the World Association of Newspapers (about them) that paints newspapers as “the ultimate browser” (slide 51) and calls them the last “fragmentation proof” mass medium (slide 35).

The 57-slide presentation titled, The Facts About Newspapers in 2007, notes that:




  • publishers have made $6 billion in printing plant equipment in the last 18 months (#50)
  • newspapers retain 29.4% of $425 billion of global advertising revenues in 2006 (#23)
  • in 2010, ‘Net ads are projected to hit 56.1 billion; newspapers should be at $140.1 billion (#39)

So clearly this is not a vanishing industry. But it is a diminishing one. The North American does worst alas in this generally upbeat report. Most places around the globe newspaper circulation rose in 2006 ( slide 19). In North America it fell 1.9 percent in 2006.


The slide show seems meant to reassure capital markets that newspapers are not circling the drain. It pitches newspaper investment as a gutsy contrarian play. “Multiples are nearing historic lows,” says slide 52.

Interesting. Have stock markets have overreacted to the drumbeat? Possible. As a slow accumulation stock strategy, newspapers might pan out in a few years when they have run through the layoffs and consolidations. But it’s difficult to the mess will be over soon.

So pardon me if I remain gloomy.


(Parked here for future reference: a snapshot of the worldwide advertising and branding industry from Plunkett Research.)