January 09, 2009

The Death Of Seattle Print Newspapers?

The Seattle Post Intelligencer can be added to the list of newspapers on death row.

Catalogers, I'm begging you to consider what this means to the "multichannel industry".

The newspaper industry and catalog marketing industry aren't fundamentally different --- the newspaper industry collects money on the front end, while catalogers have to collect on the back end. Both industries are based on a paper-based habit that is dying among folks age 18-40.

Newspapers have 10x or 20x the readership online that they have in print ... they just failed to convert online readers into sustainable revenue.

Catalogers have maybe 5x to 20x as many visitors online, compared with monthly circulation ... we're doing better at converting online readers into sustainable revenue. Our key is to migrate the model away from paper, should paper become untenable in the future.

I have yet to observe one catalog industry expert, blogger, vendor, or consultant face up to this reality in a public forum. The longer it takes for us to consider our future, the more painful the transition will be --- maybe as painful as it is for the folks in the Seattle P.I. newsroom.

Your thoughts?

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