Improving but not reinventing

From the Bivings Group’s new look at “The User of the Internet by America’s Newspapers.”

As we look at the current state of the American newspaper industry, it appears that improving websites is a crucial component for newspapers to weather the current economic downturn and continued consumer shift towards online news and classified ads. This is particularly apparent as newspaper staffs are cut and stock prices fall. However, it is very important to note that boosting a newspaper?s web presence is not enough. Even if growth in traffic to newspaper website increase dramatically, it is not yet, and may never be, enough to make up for the hit the industry is taking from declining print advertising revenue.

Lastly, our study shows that newspapers are trying to improve their web programs and experimenting with a variety of new features. However, having actually reviewed all these newspaper websites it is hard not to be left with the impression that the sites are being improved incrementally on the margins. Newspapers are focused on improving what they already have, when reinvention may be what is necessary in order for the industry to come out of the current crisis on the other side.

There’s a post on the study at the Bivings’ blog.