Statistical evidence: many newspaper execs not seeing reality

By Steve Outing

The American Press Institute’s invitation-only “Newsmedia Economic Action Plan Conference” this morning included a presentation by Greg Harmon of Belden Interactive and Greg Swanson of ITZ Publishering, showing the results of a survey of 2,400 U.S. newspaper executives. (You can see the full 80-slide presentation here.)

I find much evidence that newspaper leaders remain delusional about how charging for online content (some or all) is going to become such a big revenue stream that it will save them. Below is the slide that just screamed out at me the main problem: Newspaper executives are out of touch with the online audience to a huge degree.

Click the image below to see an enlarged view.

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For the benefit of anyone not able to see the chart in an RSS feed or mobile version of this blog, the graphic shows that 75% of newspaper execs believe that if their content were no longer available on their website, online users would foremost turn to the print edition of the newspaper. Meanwhile, only 30% of online news users said they would turn to the print edition in such a case; the No. 1 choice (at 68% of respondents to a 2009 Belden survey) was to look to “other local media Internet sites.”

Wow. That pretty much says it all. Many newspapers are doomed without management change at the top, moving people into the executive suite who have a better grasp of reality. Or the people already occupying those offices need to get new glasses.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!