The tariffs are gone, but the burden of print weighs heavier and heavier


While it has been almost a week since the newspaper tariffs were overturned by the International Trade Commission, the struggle for newspapers isn’t over. The pricing of newsprint has increased by 30 percent and not all of that has been due to the tariffs. Many of the increased prices have been “premium pricing” costs that publishers have added onto the tariffs because the tariffs provided an excuse for the hike in sales price.

Also, since many papers have gone digital, the newspaper industry uses less paper than it did almost two decades ago. Since less paper is used, the mills have consolidated and there is less supply. Today the irreversible effects of the digital age and prices of newsprint have led to staff cutbacks and smaller newspapers. The industry is still suffering as revenues are decreasing from the year before. Adapting to the digital world does not seem to be making up for the loss of print revenue. The main reason print is not doing well comes from decreases in print ad revenue, decreasing as much as 60 percent in the last 10 years for some papers. Many companies thought that digital ad revenue would make up for the drastic losses, but the profits were not consistent. Much like a cycle, the print industry has to cut back on what they cover in newspapers because they are making less money, and because they are cutting out certain sections, their customer base is dwindling.

Papers continue to make cuts with no end in sight. However, there is hope: some papers are successful in growing their digital ad revenues. Will it make up for the print ad revenues? Only time will tell.

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