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Internet never killed newspaper: Study

Jun 12 2014, 15:13 IST
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Despite the blame game, the Internet may not be the culprit. Despite the blame game, the Internet may not be the culprit.
SummaryScientists have found that web actually may not have spurred the decline of print.

The Internet may actually not be responsible for killing the traditional newspaper trade as most of us believe.

Scientists have found that the web may actually not have spurred the decline of print.

Majority accepts the fact that the Internet did have a role in killing newspapers. The newspaper business was booming before the mid-90s with top notch journalism and pages of ads. Then, the general population began interacting with the Internet, and print started taking a back seat.

Despite the blame game, the Internet may not be the culprit after all.

According to research by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor Matthew Gentzkow, assumptions about journalism are based on three false premises.

The first fallacy is that online advertising revenues are naturally lower than print revenues, so that traditional media needs to adopt a less profitable business model that can't support paying real reports.

The second fallacy is that the web has made the advertising market more competitive which has driven down rates and revenues.

The third is that the Internet is responsible for the newspaper's demise.

"This perception that online ads are cheaper to buy is all about people quoting things in units that are not comparable to each other-doing apples-to-oranges comparisons," said Matthew Gentzkow, one of the researchers.

Several different studies have already shown that people spend an order of magnitude more time reading than the average monthly visitor online, which makes looking at these rates as analogous incorrect.

By comparing the amount of time people actually see an ad, Gentzkow finds that the price of attention for similar consumers is actually higher online.

Gentzkow also points out that the popularity of newspapers had already significantly diminished between 1980 and 1995, well before the Internet age, and has dropped at roughly the same rate ever since.

"People have not stopped reading newspapers because of the Internet," Gentzkow notes.

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