Canadian newspapers are struggling – here’s how to fix the problem

How long can physical newspapers survive?

There’s no doubt that Canadian newspapers are struggling to survive as they attempt to cope with the dual challenges of declining ad revenue and increased competition from online advertising. The production, printing, and distribution of physical newspapers is an expensive endeavor that’s essentially caught in a spiral of diminishing returns. More and more people are turning to their tablets, computers and mobile devices to read their news, and advertising dollars are following suit.

But all is not lost for the publishing industry. To survive, they must adapt to consumer behavior and migrate both their content and advertising products to digital platforms. That in and of itself isn’t the biggest challenge. Digital publication and distribution platforms are far more cost effective than their physical counterparts, but the real risk is losing readership to other online news publishers, and by extension, advertising revenue.

In order to deal with these challenges, newspaper publishers should consider adopting the same business model as the popular magazine app Texture. For those unfamiliar with Texture, it’s a service that’s essentially the Netflix of magazines. For a flat fee of $9.99 per month, you can read just about any popular magazine, including back issues, on your tablet and smartphone.

Texture represents great value because purchasing a single physical magazine can cost anywhere from $5.99 to $7.99. For just a bit more money, you can read the entire magazine stand using either your smartphone or tablet. The service supports both the iPad and Android devices.

Use the following link for a 30 day FREE trial of Texture.

Click here for more information on Texture

I enjoy reading newspapers. My favorites are The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen and The Globe and Mail. Problem is, regardless of whether I’m reading these papers in their physical or digital formats, I don’t want to pay for three separate subscriptions. I would, however, subscribe to a service similar to Texture that offered a flat fee subscription to all major Canadian newspapers. This approach would benefit both consumers and publishers.

For consumers, it would provide a daily news feed that offers coverage from many different viewpoints. Despite the current popularity of the term “Fake News”, I find the reporting in most daily newspapers to be professional and well researched. Yes, some publications skew either to the right or left of the political spectrum, but ultimately it’s you, the reader, who filters through the content to form your own opinion.

For publishers, this approach offers several benefits, the biggest being the ability to establish a digital marketing platform that would scale well at both the local and national levels. It would also allow newspapers to create a firewall that prevents search engines from indexing their premium and exclusive content offerings. It might also help streamline editorial and digital distribution outlays.

There’s a saying that goes “Content is King”. But quality content is created by professional writers and reporters, and their services aren’t free. Newspapers are mainly funded through advertising revenue. Given the current fiscal challenges facing the industry, playing survival of the fittest might well be a zero sum game. The ultimate answer might lie in the pooling of both subscription fees and advertising revenues.