Sunday, April 24, 2005
The circulation of daily U.S. newspapers is 55.2 million, down from 62.3 million in 1990. The percentages of adults who say they read a paper "yesterday" are ominous:

• 65 and older -- 60 percent.

• 50-64 -- 52 percent.

• 30-49 -- 39 percent.

• 18-29 -- 23 percent.

Americans ages 8 to 18 spend an average of 6 hours and 21 minutes a day with media of all sorts but just 43 minutes with print media.

I bet there is a good percentage of high school students who hardly know what a newspaper is - that is scary. But really, why should they? They have lived in the internet age since the day they were born essentially. And why would anyone wait to read tomorrow what you can read online today? Really the only advantage that newspapers currently have is portability. You can bring a newspaper with you anywhere and read through it. But whereas content online is free, newspapers carry a price. And as technology improves newspapers will lose their portability advantage. And when that happens, the newspaper industry (as far as being print media) will be dead. It will exist almost essentially online or not at all.

I call it the toilet test. Once I can read online content on the toilet as conveniently as I can read the newspaper now, I will no longer need the newspaper. And I suspect that goes for the vast majority of current newspaper subscribers. It might take awhile, but in 10, 20, or maybe 30 years, newspapers will be essentially non-existent.

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I am an attorney in Chicago. Politically speaking, I am an indepedent that tends to lean conservative on fiscal issues and progressive on social issues. I try to remain as unbiased and open-minded as possible. Please email or post any comments, and especially criticisms. If something I say is wrong, or you disagree - let me know about it!



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