Radio ain’t dead, but newspapers?

By Stephen Rhodes

Ok radio ain’t dead; we missed that one. And it appears we might have been a little premature on the demise of  newspapers.

Canwest’s publishing division, which includes the National Post and several of the Canada’s other big daily newspapers, reported an operating profit of $41-million, up 28% from a year earlier.

An improving advertising market and lower costs helped propel Canwest Global Communications Corp. to a big increase in second-quarter earnings.

Overall the Winnipeg-based media conglomerate said it earned $94-million from operations in its fiscal second quarter, a 750% jump over the $11-million operating profit it posted a year earlier. Top-line revenue from continuing operations for the quarter, which ended on Feb. 28, increased slightly to $479-million.

So, rumours of a dying industry just months ago seem to be premature. Bad economies typically contribute to reduced spending in advertising and advertising pays the bills in the newspaper industry.

But the bounce back also tells another story. Advertisers are still confident that newspapers can deliver their primary target audience – Baby Boomers. This 50 something and up group, while engaged in new tech, TV and the Internet, still likes the tactile experience of newspapers. One cup of coffee, one armchair and the daily newspaper. Perhaps not as fresh as it once was but it’s like and old shoe – familiar and comfortable.

So while TV struggles to figure out how it fits in the 24 hour universe of the Internet and radio finds some resurgence in satellite broadcasting, newspapers have  a little breathing room, at least while the economy is strong and the Boomers are alive.

Long live the tree.

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