Monday, October 13, 2008

Newspaper Web Sites Hit Neutral

If online was supposed to save newspapers, somebody forgot to tell online advertisers. The New York Times reported today that newspaper web revenue is stagnant or falling. It's the first decline in newspaper online revenue since 2003, the Times reported.

Newspapers have been experimenting with coverage and stories on their Web sites to make them more attractive to readers and advertisers. In Orlando, we have seen an increased focus on the titillation and sensational crime coverage on the Sentinel's Web page.

It's obviously attracting readers, based on higher online traffic reported here in an earlier post. Whether it's making money is another matter. Online revenue fell 4 percent at Tribune in the second quarter ended June 30, the Times reported. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that the Sentinel is down, since that is a companywide figure. The figure could be up in Orlando and down in other markets.

Online readers need to consider whether they want to reward the Sentinel's and other newspaper's tawdry online coverage. If not, they can let their mouseclicks do the walking.

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