Before discussing the core issue it’s important to outline the challenges facing magazines and newspapers, writes Jez Walters of What’s New In Publishing (WNIP). By any measure a quick glance of the statistics makes staggering reading. As Alan Mutter remarks in his article, A Publishing Crisis by the Numbers, ‘it is easy to become inured to the drip, drip, drip of bad news about newspapers, (but the figures) are a reminder that one of our most valuable journalistic institutions is engaged in a grave, ongoing and so far unresolved crisis’.
If I was in a Court of Law and had just one exhibit for the jury, it would be this: The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) reported that 161 million unique individuals visited the digital media of all US newspapers in March 2014, equating to two-thirds of American adults. By comparison, Facebook alone attracts 166 million uniques per month.
If the jury was still ambivalent, I’d then lay down the killer stat: a typical visitor to a newspaper site has a dwell time of 3.6 minutes. By contrast, the average visit time at Facebook is half an hour, the sort of figure that would have entire ad departments at national newspapers kicking their shoes off and blowing cigar smoke out of the windows.