I was actually wondering when The Boston Globe would realize that it’s a new century and decide to stop publishing stock quotes in the daily paper. I mean, who looks at stock quotes in the actual newspaper anymore? I’m not sure how much it costs the Globe per page to publish the newspaper, but you can damn well bet they know. And you can be sure they know that everyone and their mother uses Yahoo! Finance or Marketwatch to check stock quotes these days. Really – would you rather get your fingers all black looking for stock quotes or type in a URL and a couple of stock symbol letters online and get it instantly? No brainer, kiddos.
Newspapers have clearly reached a crossroads here. Stock quotes are a painfully obvious example, as many of the major dailies have stopped publishing them, but at some point (sooner than later) they’re going to have to come around to the fact that classifieds will go away too, which is a major bloodline for them. That will be huge. Craigslist, EBay and probably Google are going to seal that deal regarding classifieds. Come on, have you seen the list of cities Craiglist has coverage in now? Not to mention that anyone under, say, 30 years old at this point can’t even imagine stepping outside each morning to collect a physical newspaper. It’s all on their 19-inch monitor, why the hell bother with ink?
Which goes back to my recurring point: the internet has changed everything. Newspapers can’t charge for content online, otherwise people will simply go somewhere else. Hello, Google News. Charge for the content? Come on! Nobody is going to friggin’ pay for it if they can get it elsewhere. They’ve removed stock quotes. They won’t be publishing classifieds much longer. What do they have to rely on? Revenue from subscribers? Forget it, yo. That was really never their pot of gold anyway. Guys like me still go outside each morning and grab the paper because it’s a romantic notion, holding up that paper each morning, but that’s not going to last, even with me. Columnists? A dying breed, my friends.
Frankly, I don’t know what’s going to happen to newspapers. They have an extremely tough road to hoe, especially as news and video start to proliferate online (hi, Brightcove), but it’s sure going to be an interesting ride and I’m cheering for them. I’m just not terribly optimistic.
UPDATE: Early this morning CNet’s news.com posted this story about newspapers utilizing blog content, directly or indirectly, with mixed results. I found it pretty interesting that in terms of online pageviews, newspaper websites and blogs are running about even.
Do you still read physical newspapers?