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The good, the bad, and the ugly, Part II
The print industry around the world is suffering. But more importantly, it is still surviving, Part II.
August 4, 2009 7:16 by Sam Potter
Click here to read Part I.
For national titles in Europe, the situation is generally better than domestic ones, but not always by much. A move to online models has been successful in terms of readership, but these papers have provided almost all their content online for free; a lack of profitability is often palpable. Recent speculation surrounds the future of Britain’s Independent, whose parent company Independent News and Media has total debts of 1.3 billion Euros ($1.8 million).
Meanwhile, reports say that media mogul Rupert Murdoch is considering charging for access to News Corporation’s newspaper websites. The company’s newspaper division barely broke even in the most recent quarter, with profits down from $216 million to $7 million year-on-year. The company’s most famous titles include British heavyweights The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun.
It’s not all bad news, though. Axel Springer AG, publisher of the Bild daily in Germany, the country’s largest circulation paper, posted its highest ever profit in 2008. The company attributes its success to early investment in the internet. Meanwhile in Spain, while print media in general is suffering, free newspapers are proving extremely popular, with 20 Minutos now the most read title in the country. Incidentally, www.20 Minutos.es is also the third most visited information website in Spain. And in Norway, Oslo-based publisher Schibsted’s online activities now provide a quarter of the company’s revenue, and a majority of its profit.
Some people believe that ultimately, Europe is merely following the same road as the US. According to Paper Cuts, a website tracking industry changes in the US, in 2007, two titles ceased publication across the whole of the United States. In 2008, it was 55 titles; so far in 2009 the site reports 94 titles have closed or cut their print editions.
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