The Old Gray Lady is in big trouble. Declining readership has lead to declining print ad revenues. Online revenues are strong but not nearly enough to support a newsroom whose annual cost is estimated at $200 million!
As the owner of a marketing agency (Berkshire Direct in Williamstown), I am constantly looking out for trends in advertising. The decline of newspapers has been underway for years. What's next?
Well, let's be honest. If the true impact of the remote control and the DVR were ever measured and publicly shared, I believe TV ad revenue would be devastated. Who watches commercials any more when you can either flip to another of the 500+ channels available at the push of a button OR simply fast-forward through the recorded show you are watching? How many people listen to their iPods or CD's in their cars instead of radio? What is that ultimately going to mean to radio ad dollars?
The bottom line is this: if you are an advertiser, you need to be measuring the results of your ad campaigns every day. You should not spend a penny on a campaign whose results you can't measure. Add ad-specific extensions to phone numbers so you know which ad people are calling about. Use URL's in ads that are just for that specific ad, so you can tell that the ad generated the website visit and not something else.
Finally, start investing in advertising on sites like iBerkshires. Their page views and visits are skyrocketing each month. When the newspapers are gone, these local micro news organizations might be the only thing left that people depend on daily for their local news. If you are a local business who depends upon traffic from local consumers, it may be your best bet. Plus, clickthroughs from ads on iBerkshires are totally measurable.