A new study has revealed that the internet did not play a crucial role in the demise of newspapers.
The researcher considers that assumptions about journalism are based on three false premises - first online advertising revenues are naturally lower than print revenues, so traditional media must adopt a less profitable business model that cannot support paying real reporters. Second is that the web has made the advertising market more competitive, which has driven down rates and, in turn, revenues. The third is internet is responsible for the demise of the newspaper industry.
Professor Matthew Gentzkow said that the perception that online ads are cheaper to buy is all about people quoting things in units that are not comparable to each other because online ad rates are typically discussed in terms of "number of unique monthly visitors" the ad receives, while circulation numbers determine newspaper rates.
In 2008 it was calculated that newspapers earned 2.78 dollar per hour of attention in print and 3.79 dollar per hour of attention online but by 2012, in had fallen in print to 1.57 dollar, while it had increased in online to 4.24 dollar.
However, it was also stated that the popularity of newspapers had already significantly diminished between 1980 and 1995 and has dropped at roughly the same rate ever since.
The study 'Trading Dollars for Dollars: The Price of Attention Online and Offline' is published in the American Economic Review.