Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Craigslist founder questions print future

"The printed page conveys information and commitment, and requires active involvement. Television conveys emotion and experience, and it's very limited in what it can do logically. It's an existential experience-there and then gone."
Bill Moyers

Craigslist founder questions print future 07_date.htm

NEW YORK - Craigslist founder Craig Newmark said newspapers' hallmark should be in investigative journalism, even as he predicted a dismal future for ink-on-paper distribution.

"People who run printing presses are screwed," Newmark said at the opening of the Newspaper Association of America annual meeting.

Citing "talk of newspapers' 10 to 20 percent profit margins," Newmark suggested the industry remains vital, although he said he believes that newsprint is a luxury. A newspaper can be received online and printed out if desired, he said.

As for Craigslist itself, Newmark said he has no plans to change the site's successful model.

"We do one thing really well and we figure we should stick with that. It's easy enough (to expand)," he said. "We have a set of templates and when we have the time and desire we move into another city."

Meantime, the NAA released data that showed the audience for newspaper Web sites is growing at nearly twice the rate of the overall online audience.

Nielsen//NetRatings NetView custom analysis reported that an average of more than 59 million people visited newspaper Web sites each month during the first quarter - a record number that represents a 5.3 percent jump from 2006 stats, NAA said.

"Newspaper publishers have aggressively transformed their business models, continually providing ground-breaking content to consumers with their expanding digital portfolios," said NAA President and Chief Executive Officer John F. Sturm.

Other findings include:

· A little more than 88 percent of newspaper Web site visitors made a purchase online in the last six months, compared with 78.9 percent of the overall Internet audience.

· Forty-one percent of newspaper Web site visitors are employed in professional or managerial occupations, compared with 32.7 percent of the overall Internet population.

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