A Thinning Market

april 6, 2005  10:30 am
Like many people who spent their careers putting mostly black ink on white paper so it could be thrown on people's porches at 5 a.m., I have been worrying about the future of newspapers. Most of the content newspapers provide is available free online and many of our best advertisers have found they can reach their best customers more efficiently using lower-cost, Web-based alternatives.

One of the essential facts newspaper ad people never talk about is the inherent inefficiency in newspaper advertising — and that this inefficiency is what drives profitability. In fact, the old Newspaper Advertising Bureau created a clever marketing name for the phenomenon — The Thin Market Concept — and used it to get customers to buy more ads.