Back in January, Google announced they were no longer going to be providing newspaper advertising options through their AdWords program. Spencer Spinnell (Director of Google Print Ads) wrote:
While we hoped that Print Ads would create a new revenue stream for newspapers and produce more relevant advertising for consumers, the product has not created the impact that we — or our partners — wanted. As a result, we will stop offering Print Ads on February 28. For advertisers who have campaigns already booked, we will place their ads through March 31.
We launched our Print Ads program with 50 newspaper partners in November 2006 and, with the cooperation of our partners, were able to expand the network to include more than 800 U.S. newspapers.
Here we are in April and Google print ads are completely gone leading us to wonder – how much longer can newspapers hold on? If Google wasn’t able to monetize with them as they had planned what hope is left? It will be an interesting next couple of months to see what reports about the newspaper industry are put out.
I personally feel the only way newspapers will be able to survive and compete is to establish a very strong online presence. Newspaper companies need to focus on (re)building their empire online by acquiring and or establishing their own network of news sites, blogs, and communities. One newspaper company that I believe has done the best job thus far creating an online presence is the New York Times.
Newspapers should also consider the possibility of creating their own online ad-networks in addition to relying on Google. This will allow them to be more independent and self-sustaining in the long run. They already have the audience to attract the big ad dollars especially when you can spread those ads over a large network of sites.
So when is the death of the actual newspaper (paper version)? I don’t think anyone knows for sure currently, but I’m not going to be too quick to count them out completely (online, at least).