Monitor move doesn’t spell end of print
The plan to stop printing the Monitor this spring makes sense for it, because its audience is geographically dispersed and the continued cost of printing and mailing a physical paper is prohibitively high for a title whose circulation has shrunk to only a quarter of the 220,000 papers it sold in 1970.
The Monitor also is under pressure to trim by two-thirds the $12 million annual subsidy it now receives from its patron, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston.
So, abandoning print is a good call for the Monitor, which intends to put the bulk of its resources in the future into an upgraded website and a slick, weekly magazine.
But a paperless strategy likely would not succeed at most general-circulation newspapers, which have no charitable endowments and draw the better part of 90% of their revenues from advertising in the print product.
As discussed here, a newspaper would have to at least triple its online revenues from the current levels before it could break even.
Until further notice, therefore, newspapers will need print editions in order to sell advertising, which is getting ever harder to come by.
Newspapers also will need readers to convince marketers that someone is looking at their ads. And, as discussed below, readers are getting harder to come by, too.