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The Wall Street Journal website — paywalled from the very beginning — turns 20 years old today
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May 18, 2009, 3:57 p.m.

Will display advertising return after the recession?

Dean Singleton says that the big problem with most analysis of the current newspaper business downturn is that it assumes that the change is secular, not cyclical:

The problems of newspapers, in my view, are very mis-covered by media analysts today. They don’t understand the difference between a severe economic downturn, the most severe we’ve seen in my lifetime, and structural change. There are both going on. There’s structural change going on, and it has been for several years, and that will change our business model. But the majority of the revenue declines we’re seeing in 2009 are plain, old economic downturn.

But, what of the former newspaper advertisers that make it through the current downturn alive? At that point, through creativity and brute force, they’ve weathered the storm without newspaper advertising.  Once advertisers discover that business goes on with or without print advertising, what could possibly motivate them to reopen their wallets? Isn’t this what happened with Craigslist, which did not steal share of classified revenue, but render it moot?

POSTED     May 18, 2009, 3:57 p.m.
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