Web Publishing Roll-up: Q1 2010 Newspaper Ad Revenue Gets a Boost, Paywalls Might Deter Youngsters

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Marisa Peacock avatar

This week in web publishing: newspapers' first quarter 2010 results for advertising revenue, possible negative effects of paywalls on younger readers, Publish2 as a rival for the AP.

Q1 Results Inspire Hope for Newspapers

It’s that time of year again when we look at the first-quarter numbers for newspaper advertising revenue. The Newspaper Association of America reports that revenue fell 10%, marking the first decrease of less than 12% since the final three months of 2007 and a sign that the ad slump is gently getting better.

Some of the key newspaper players even reported their smallest drops in years, including Gannett Co., the nation's largest newspaper publisher, whose ad revenue for publishing only fell 8%; The New York Times Co., whose advertising revenue fell 6.1%, the smallest decline since the third quarter of 2007; and Washington Post Co. who reports an 8% drop in the first quarter from the same period of 2009.

Such numbers, while still dropping, may signify a light at the end of the tunnel, but no one doubts there is still a ways to go.

Paywalls Will Keep Younger Generations of Readers Away

With many online newspapers moving towards a paywall model in an effort to save what is left of the news, James Seddon of Wired.co.uk says that paywalls will have a negative effect on younger generations of readers, who have been accustomed to acquiring their content, no matter the format, for free.

While one may argue that paying for things makes you value them more, Seddon argues that paying for online content “won’t encourage kids to read newspaper websites.”

Learning Opportunities

Because the news is rarely high of young adults’ lists of sites to visit, Seddom claims that it’s even more “essential the next generation has a good understanding of current affairs, a passion even” something they are unlikely to develop if it continues to cost them.

News Exchange v. Associated Press

Publish2has launched a content sharing network called News Exchange,which aims to challenge the AssociatedPress, the global news network which currently delivers news fromevery corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.

Describedas the “next generation of the newswire,” News Exchange is built uponscalable content sharing networks and a platform that uses FTP orauthenticated Web feeds to import and export stories to publishers,formatted to their specifications. Ultimately, publishers will be ableto create their own content sharing networks so as to cover any topic orissue from anywhere in the world.

The News Exchange boasts itselfas a viable alternative to the AP, providing a platform for publishersfrom which they can share and distribute content for print and webpublishing. At present the exchange includes content from TechCrunch,The Huffington Post Investigative Fund, Luxist, engadget and AOL’s DailyFinance.