Print is becoming a niche.

As followers of News Paper Death Watch and general observers of newsstands are well aware, smaller and notable papers alike have been either shutting down or switching exclusively to online versions. Ad money and circulation numbers are down. Surviving papers are largely bleeding money and living off of borrowed time. The news is still getting out, but fewer and fewer Americans are purchasing physical products to get it.

With Amazon pushing the Kindle and the growth of the cloud, even with its issues, the move is ever more away from physical media of any form. Music is downloaded, customers stream movies from Netflix, books are digital and software is moving online, piracy aside. Discs are becoming a less popular means of distribution in favor of a digital alternative that has and will continue to destroy the market for print media. Print media will still have its place, but it will no longer be a general purpose item. Print newspapers are readily becoming an item for the elderly and nice customers. Once the elderly customers inevitably die off, that leaves almost only the niche.

The consequences are evident to anyone who knows the reality of the differences in profitability between print and online advertising, that being that the latter pays a fraction of the former. This will mean an even greater reduction in overall advertising revenue for the journalism industry, likely leading to the employment of even fewer journalists doing more limited coverage, both in scope and in depth. The journalism industry is tenacious, but it has numerous future challenges to contend with.

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