Digital Revolution Takes Hold of Newspaper Industry
NAA Bids Farewell to Its National Ad Sales Company
In a clear move to stay afloat in a digital-first world, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) announced last Tuesday that it’s shuttering its national ad sales affiliate, the Newspaper National Network (NNN). This decision comes after CFO Robert Walden wrote in a memo last Monday that the NNN is projected to lose over $1 million for the first half of this year.
Born out of a need to easily place ads across multiple newspapers in one fell swoop, NNN was formed in 1994 by NAA and 25 of its partnering publishers. All was going swimmingly well except for one glaring problem: the advertising model prioritized print circulations. Fast forward to present day and it’s clear that such a strategy flounders in our tech-obsessed culture.
As audiences continue to migrate online, this news of NNN’s demise is met with little surprise. After all, it’s no secret that more and more people are consuming news online. According to a Pew Research Center study, nearly 4 in 10 U.S. adults (38%) catch up on headlining news digitally. In fact, only 20% of Americans skim the news from a good ol’ newspaper.
SO, WHERE DOES THIS DECISION LEAVE NAA & ITS PARTNERS?
In an ideal world, Nucleus’s marketing mavens will pick up the reins and take NAA to digital advertising nirvana. In reality, behemoths like Google and Facebook reign over digital advertising. While Nucleus’s takeover may help buoy a once monolithic industry against the threat of financial stagnancy, there’s still the issue of sluggish revenue growth for newspaper digital ad sales.
Digital news revenue: Nonprofit digital news revenue (2016)
To borrow from an old adage, Nucleus is a little advertising fish in a big programmatic pond. While this decision is no doubt a step in the right direction, it might not be enough. Only time will tell.