The good news for U.S. newspapers is that their revenue declines slowed in 2012, in part because some digital revenue stepped in somewhat to ease the slide, particularly revenue from digital subscriptions. The bad news is that the decline continued, the Associated Press reports, to the extent of about two per cent. Revenues for the industry were $38.6 billion, down from $39.5 billion.
Sources of strong revenue for smaller community newspapers are legal notices on bankruptcies, name changes, estate wills and the like. But a proposed California law would permit such notices to only be posted online, a move that would seriously undercut the business models of the papers. Other states have started to implement such laws, in part because they are more affordable ways to publish such notices.
The New York Times examines the growing presence of sponsored content online, noting that other forms of advertising have not been effective and that the association of a brand with editorial material has started to demonstrate greater appeal. Of course, the approach has its critics.