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Neil Thurman and Merja Myllylahti
Graduate School of Journalism
Email: neilt@soi.city.ac.uk
“Taking the paper out of news”
Taking the paper out of news:
Neil Thurman and Merja Myllylahti
Graduate School of Journalism
Email: neilt@soi.city.ac.uk
A case study of Taloussanomat, Europe’s first
online-only newspaper
“Print newspapers will run out of daily readers late in the first
quarter of 2043”
– Philip Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper, 2004
“In 10 years . . . there will be no newspapers, no magazines
that are delivered in paper form"
– Steve Bullmer, CEO Microsoft, 2008
“by 2021 the few national US dailies . . . will not exist in print"
– Vin Crosbie, 2008
Madison’s The Capital Times : “A fond farewell”, 5 April 2008
Seattle Post-
Intelligencer
newsroom, 16 March
2009: end of an era
Christian Science
Monitor’s last daily
print edition: March 27
2009
Taloussanomat’s
first edition:
18 November 1997
Taloussanomat’s
last edition:
27 December 2007
“A toast to the new”
“The text and readers'
services will continue as
strongly online”
Taloussanomat: falling print circulation, large losses
88000
72000
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
70,000
80,000
90,000
2001 2006
Print circulation
“Print-era losses:
in the millions of
Euros / year”
Killing the print edition: cost savings
35% 66%
Taloussanomat
52%Source: Edmonds (2007) Source: Grindley (2006)
Print vs. Online Ad Expenditures, Newspapers, 2003-2007
Source: Pew / Business Analysis and Research, Newspaper Association of America
Weekly unique visitors to Taloussanomat and Kauppalehti, 2007-2008
-22%
Nov ’07 – Aug ’08 Change in Unique Users
60
32
18
-0.26
-10
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
%change
TimesOnline.co.uk
Guardian.co.uk
Kauppalehti
Taloussanomat
Taloussanomat & Kauppalehti : weekly page impressions 2007-2008
-11%
Nov ’07 – Aug ’08 Change in Page Impressions
45
32
-7
10
-10
0
10
20
30
40
50
%change
TimesOnline.co.uk
Guardian.co.uk
Kauppalehti
Taloussanomat
Average daily reading time: Finland
Newspaper readers : 36 mins / day
(Source: Sanomalehtien Liitto, 2006)
Only-only Taloussanomat: 1½ mins / day
(Source: Google Analytics, 2008 / TNS Gallup, 2008)
Taloussanomat: web vs print reach
Daily print circulation, 2006 : 72,000
Weekly unique users, 2008: 291,966
Taloussanomat: Aggregate weekly viewing time
Print version, 2006 : 216,000 hours.
Only-only version, 2008 : 57,316 hours.
Revenue
▼down 75% ▼
"Moving online is a [prospect] advertisers will embrace”
– The Ecologist's publishing director, Richard Coles
“We have the luxury — the opportunity — of making a leap that most
newspapers will have to make in the next five years ."
– John Yemma, editor, Christian Science Monitor
Conclusion # 1:
Ditching print edition only financially worthwhile if
newspaper has operating losses of at least 31%.
“Some of the journalists . . . have their stories ready at
4–5pm. This needs to change."
– Editor for Development and Strategy, Taloussanomat.
80% of stories based on agency
material / other news sites
(28 July – 5 Aug 2008)
Journalists:
2007: 52 2008: 31 2009: <28
“We do not have time to go to news conferences, meet our
sources or even talk to colleagues. 95% of the journalistic
work is done on the phone”
– experienced news journalist, Taloussanomat
“If you double the amount of stories or the publishing
frequency it truly helps [your visitor numbers].”
– Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
“Churn-alists”
– Nick Davies
“If you want profits, your only solution is to be a Michelin star
restaurant. You have to have . . . time to think.”
– Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
Taloussanomat’s
newsroom
“Your story is
flying! In 12
minutes you have
got 500 readers”
– sub editor,
Taloussanomat, 11 July
2008
“if the visitor numbers are low [the news desk] will publish
some populist story like about David Beckham’s underwear
to get reader figures up quickly”
– multimedia journalist, Taloussanomat
‘Beckham-
johns like
hot cakes’
“more ‘how to journalism’ ”
– Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
“We now have more stories that are closer to the consumer”
– News editor, Taloussanomat
“It is worth training journalists to produce multimedia
content? I think it is better to let specialised journalists do
their jobs properly. To be able to write good stories, the
journalists need time to analyse, think, and discuss”
– Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
Conclusions
“it would take years to become profitable even given double-digit growth
in income from display advertising”
– Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
“to be profitable, we need to get our mobile services, tailored content
[e.g. email newsletters], and community services to make money”
– Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
“We have realised, that during the first six months of the operation we
have changed to a news agency”
– Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
12 April 2009
Neil Thurman and Merja Myllylahti
Graduate School of Journalism
Email: neilt@soi.city.ac.uk
“Taking the paper out of news”
Full paper in Journalism Studies:
http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/14616700902812959

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Thurman

  • 1. Neil Thurman and Merja Myllylahti Graduate School of Journalism Email: neilt@soi.city.ac.uk “Taking the paper out of news”
  • 2.
  • 3. Taking the paper out of news: Neil Thurman and Merja Myllylahti Graduate School of Journalism Email: neilt@soi.city.ac.uk A case study of Taloussanomat, Europe’s first online-only newspaper
  • 4. “Print newspapers will run out of daily readers late in the first quarter of 2043” – Philip Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper, 2004 “In 10 years . . . there will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form" – Steve Bullmer, CEO Microsoft, 2008 “by 2021 the few national US dailies . . . will not exist in print" – Vin Crosbie, 2008
  • 5. Madison’s The Capital Times : “A fond farewell”, 5 April 2008
  • 6. Seattle Post- Intelligencer newsroom, 16 March 2009: end of an era Christian Science Monitor’s last daily print edition: March 27 2009
  • 8. Taloussanomat’s last edition: 27 December 2007 “A toast to the new” “The text and readers' services will continue as strongly online”
  • 9. Taloussanomat: falling print circulation, large losses 88000 72000 0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 80,000 90,000 2001 2006 Print circulation “Print-era losses: in the millions of Euros / year”
  • 10. Killing the print edition: cost savings 35% 66% Taloussanomat 52%Source: Edmonds (2007) Source: Grindley (2006)
  • 11. Print vs. Online Ad Expenditures, Newspapers, 2003-2007 Source: Pew / Business Analysis and Research, Newspaper Association of America
  • 12. Weekly unique visitors to Taloussanomat and Kauppalehti, 2007-2008 -22%
  • 13. Nov ’07 – Aug ’08 Change in Unique Users 60 32 18 -0.26 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 %change TimesOnline.co.uk Guardian.co.uk Kauppalehti Taloussanomat
  • 14. Taloussanomat & Kauppalehti : weekly page impressions 2007-2008 -11%
  • 15. Nov ’07 – Aug ’08 Change in Page Impressions 45 32 -7 10 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 %change TimesOnline.co.uk Guardian.co.uk Kauppalehti Taloussanomat
  • 16. Average daily reading time: Finland Newspaper readers : 36 mins / day (Source: Sanomalehtien Liitto, 2006) Only-only Taloussanomat: 1½ mins / day (Source: Google Analytics, 2008 / TNS Gallup, 2008)
  • 17. Taloussanomat: web vs print reach Daily print circulation, 2006 : 72,000 Weekly unique users, 2008: 291,966
  • 18. Taloussanomat: Aggregate weekly viewing time Print version, 2006 : 216,000 hours. Only-only version, 2008 : 57,316 hours. Revenue ▼down 75% ▼
  • 19. "Moving online is a [prospect] advertisers will embrace” – The Ecologist's publishing director, Richard Coles “We have the luxury — the opportunity — of making a leap that most newspapers will have to make in the next five years ." – John Yemma, editor, Christian Science Monitor
  • 20. Conclusion # 1: Ditching print edition only financially worthwhile if newspaper has operating losses of at least 31%.
  • 21. “Some of the journalists . . . have their stories ready at 4–5pm. This needs to change." – Editor for Development and Strategy, Taloussanomat.
  • 22. 80% of stories based on agency material / other news sites (28 July – 5 Aug 2008) Journalists: 2007: 52 2008: 31 2009: <28 “We do not have time to go to news conferences, meet our sources or even talk to colleagues. 95% of the journalistic work is done on the phone” – experienced news journalist, Taloussanomat
  • 23. “If you double the amount of stories or the publishing frequency it truly helps [your visitor numbers].” – Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Taloussanomat “Churn-alists” – Nick Davies
  • 24. “If you want profits, your only solution is to be a Michelin star restaurant. You have to have . . . time to think.” – Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
  • 25. Taloussanomat’s newsroom “Your story is flying! In 12 minutes you have got 500 readers” – sub editor, Taloussanomat, 11 July 2008
  • 26. “if the visitor numbers are low [the news desk] will publish some populist story like about David Beckham’s underwear to get reader figures up quickly” – multimedia journalist, Taloussanomat ‘Beckham- johns like hot cakes’
  • 27. “more ‘how to journalism’ ” – Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat “We now have more stories that are closer to the consumer” – News editor, Taloussanomat
  • 28. “It is worth training journalists to produce multimedia content? I think it is better to let specialised journalists do their jobs properly. To be able to write good stories, the journalists need time to analyse, think, and discuss” – Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
  • 30. “it would take years to become profitable even given double-digit growth in income from display advertising” – Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat “to be profitable, we need to get our mobile services, tailored content [e.g. email newsletters], and community services to make money” – Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
  • 31. “We have realised, that during the first six months of the operation we have changed to a news agency” – Editor-in-chief and CEO, Taloussanomat
  • 33. Neil Thurman and Merja Myllylahti Graduate School of Journalism Email: neilt@soi.city.ac.uk “Taking the paper out of news” Full paper in Journalism Studies: http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/14616700902812959