For the last few years, newspapers have borne the brunt of declining fortunes while their circulation erodes as quickly as the sands on a beach facing a tsunami. But the reality is far from the perception that newspapers will disappear.

A recent study by Scarborough Research points to a healthy print/internet readership that will remain a media force for some time to come.  Aggregation news sites that include the likes of Drudge and the Huffington Post, while performing well, are not hurting strong newspaper options.

Among results from the study ....

74% of the adult population read newspapers in print or online

79% of white collar adults read newspapers in print or online

82% with household incomes over $100k read newspapers in print or online

84% of college grads read newspapers in print or online each week

While circulation drops are real, audience readership has not registered the same declines and is holding up well in spite of increased media fragmentation.

The longer term solution for the survival of newspapers appears to be a business model that fully embraces the online potential with a web-first publishing format.

The multi-cultural publishing base is also benefiting from a strong reader loyalty -- especially among the Latino community, 49 million strong, representing over a trillion dollars in purchasing power and growing at a rapid pace.

Spanish language newspapers enjoy 50% more readers per copy than mainstream English-language papers according to the National Association of Hispanic Publications. Contrary to current consciousness, Hispanic youths are loyal to their Spanish-language papers preferring entertainment and political sections. 

Marketers take notice ....It is estimated that 82% of Latino's read and share their paper with a least one other person.

Not too shabby for what is perceived to be a declining market.


As we close out 2009 and enter 2010, we begin to reflect on the past and look to the future for growth, prosperity, health and happiness.

The United states has been a cultural melting pot spawning generations of culturally rooted families from around the globe. From Europe and Africa, the Middle East and Asia, we are as culturally diverse as Walt Disney's "It's a Small World".

Standing out from all cultures in terms of growth and impact on our economy has been the Hispanic (or Latino) community. Today, over twenty countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico contribute to the Latino population in the U.S. accounting for 15.5% of the U.S. population ..... not an insignificant statistic.

And the number is growing rapidly.

Results from the 2010 census is expected to raise eyebrows as many believe the number of Latinos will rise from an expected 47 million to between 50 and 52 million.

According to the census, the Hispanic-origin population contributed 39 percent of the Nation's population growth from 2000 to 2010, projected to 45 percent from 2010 to 2030, and a whooping 60 percent from 2030 to 2050 (accounting for at least 25% to 30% of the U.S. population).

The political and economic impact of the Latino community as it relates to marketing strategies cannot be overlooked. To do so would court disaster..... and delivers a holiday gift for those marketers that have already recognized the future bonanza.

Happy Holidays!


Berg and Bonier R&D out of London have been experimenting with concepts for digital magazine publishing. The project, Mag+, explores both consumer habits and business needs to make the digital magazine reader experience more insightful and rewarding.

The reading device is much like a Kindle or Sony Reader on steroids. The video below provides an excellent overview of the device and the "layout" for published content. The overall result is a handsome attempt to drive magazine readers away from the printed page and onto the digital band wagon.

As old habits die hard, there will likely be resistance and slow acceptance of a digitized magazine format. Some of the experience will be lost as other benefits come into play. For consumers that are growing up with, and those that are embracing, the digital age, the experience will be a good one. For others that enjoy the tactile experience, not so much.

Are we trying too hard to move the consumer away from one platform to another? One will not mirror the experience of the other as we attempt to make a migration painless for both publisher and reader. Taking a lesson from history, television did not replace radio, the cell phone has not replaced the telephone and FOR SOME TIME TO COME, MAGAZINES, BOTH DIGITAL AND PRINTED VERSIONS, WILL LIVE SIDE BY SIDE, each catering to a distinct audience.

Displacement in the pool of media options is an ongoing phenomenon. Replacement is a rare event.

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.


The number of high ranking executives at the holding company level, willing to step outside the comfort of their well furnished offices to "tell it like it is" are few and far between.

Except for Martin Sorrell.

At a recent UBS Media Week Conference, Sorrell covered topics that ranged from short-sighted media price guarantees (in a volatile market) to digital media and global emerging markets.

Espousing the danger of taking comfort in a 25 percent decline in revenues he suggested those companies would be out of business in three years.
Citing a forecast of a 1 percent global expansion in spending and pointing to Interpublic's forecast of 6 percent growth as "rogue", he suggested the economic climate is "more, less worse".

Turning to the digital landscape as "the driver for growth", Sorrell does not believe firms like Google can sustain long term traction as an advertising company and that the phenomenon of Facebook and Twitter will be short-lived, replaced by the next new social trend.

Sorrell's crystal ball is not that far off.

Price guarantees in this (or any other) economy by ad agencies for media time/space is at best insane. CPMs in the broadcast market have gone up while digital auctions through the on-demand platforms are commanding premiums for hyper-targeted impressions. Betting on media futures is not a good thing.

Twitter recently experienced a drop of 3 million users and activity among current users is declining. Facebook is still bleeding and MySpace is slowly withering away. The social networks have yet to discover the value of audience data applied to the millions of eyeballs they generate. I would venture that applications developed for the Twitter platform are making more money than Twitter ever will.

Reading what is in the cards today, right or wrong, however, will quickly be forgotten in anticipation of the early signs of a modest recovery.


The controversy and sparing between newspaper companies and aggregation sites was recently highlighted in an editorial by Arianna Huffington on her site The Huffington Post. Taking aim at Rupert Murdoch's call for pay walls, she handily convinced her audience (albeit a web audience) that pay walls are not the answer.

Maintaining journalistic excellence while making a profit is becoming increasingly impossible for news companies that cling to a print-only business model.

There is hope.

At today's gathering at the World Newspaper Congress in Hyderabad, India, over 1500 participants heard how a news and information company in the U.S. is transforming itself to become a digital savvy operation that turns the old print-only model on its ear while projecting record profits. This company successfully reverse-engineered the production and, importantly, the distribution of content looking to the web first and print last.

John Paton, Chairman and CEO at ImpreMedia, the largest Hispanic News and Information company in the U.S., passionate about journalism, the communities he serves and his dedicated employees, provided his audience with a road map for what appears to be a successful embrace of the digital landscape before us.

His speech can be read here. I urge you to read it.

In closing, Mr. Paton also announced new initiatives for hyperlocal media efforts extending to local communities in New York and LA via community blogging partnerships. ImpreMedia will establish E-Journalism Media Labs and shepherd key community bloggers to address the importance of hyperlocal journalism.


The World Newspaper Congress begins its sessions today in Hyderabad, India and will touch upon a number of pressing issues from journalistic freedom to the impact of the web on newspaper fortunes.

That newspapers are facing a disappearing act has been long argued in the face of declining circulation. The following presentation from the Congress provides alternative views....

At no time in the foreseeable future will digital advertising revenues replace those lost to print, making the search for new business models including paid-for online access for news ­ a pressing concern for the news publishing industry, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers said in its annual world press trends update.

As search engines take the largest slice of advertising revenues, little is left for the content generators themselves. In a 182-billion dollar press advertising industry, digital revenues of newspapers accounted for less than 6 billion dollars last year and are forecast by to grow to no more than 8.4 billion dollars by 2013.

At the same time, print advertising is expected to decline and that by 2013, combined print and digital ad revenues will be less than print only ad revenues were in 2008.

"These forecasts, similar to those made by Zenith and others,demonstrate quite simply that at no time soon will digital advertising revenues come close to achieving the sort of revenues required, by many, to compensate for falling print revenue," said Timothy Balding, co-CEO of WAN-IFRA. "So that answer will have to be found elsewhere. Should these forecasts come close to being true, new business models will have to be invented."

"If newspaper companies wish to maintain their strong content leadership, someone is going to have to pay. It looks like we have to solve the digital payment issue ­and soon," he said.

The annual world press trends survey was presented Tuesday at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum in Hyderabad, India, where the paid content issue is being hotly debated.

Yet despite the problems of falling advertising revenues, forecasts of even further declines, and pressure from new competitors, the global newspaper industry is far from facing an "apocalypse," Mr Balding said.

"Despite the endless predictions about the death of newspapers, they actually continue to grow, at least on a global scale," said Mr Balding.

The WAN-IFRA survey showed that newspaper circulation grew, on a global scale, by 1.3 percent in 2008, the last full year for which data exists, and almost 9 percent over five years.

"You might say that this growth is taking place in the developing markets and masks a continued downward trend in the developed world. And to a degree this is true, but it is not the whole story, as newspaper companies in the 'old' markets have embraced digital platforms and new forms of print publishing and, in doing so, have actually grown their audience reach and revenues, even while their print circulations have come under pressure."

The data shows consistent newspaper growth in Africa, Asia and South America, and a long-term slowdown in the US and European markets.

"But even here, a sense of proportion demands that we deny the idea that the apocalypse is upon us," said Mr Balding. "A circulation drop in Europe, for example, is less than 3 percent over five years. Over five years, according to our survey, newspaper circulation increased in 100 of the 182 nations for which we have reliable data."