Journalism’s Creative Destruction Opportunity

The traditional bastions of news media are facing a formidable challenge: protecting themselves from the very consumers they aim to serve. Confronted with the of loss of advertising revenue to tech giants like Alphabet and TikTok and the encroaching presence of artificial intelligence, the companies are looking to government for help. This is doomed to fail. So rather than seek protection from the forces of creative destruction that are dismantling their antiquated business models, legacy companies should become the agents of change.

The narrative of newspapers’ decline is a familiar one, marked by economic tumult and shifting consumer preferences. Over the past two decades, a significant number of US newspapers have shuttered their doors, displacing thousands of journalists. Concurrently, newspaper advertising revenues in the US have declined precipitously, plummeting by a staggering 84 percent in real terms since their peak in 2006. While it may be tempting to attribute this decline solely to the rise of Big Tech, as some media groups and their political supporters are prone to do, the reality is more nuanced. Over a decade before the emergence of Big Tech, the legacy companies operated as if they were monopolies, pursuing a strategy of escalating advertising revenues and prices even in the face of dwindling circulation. The strategy backfired because the presumptive monopolists were, in reality, facing competition.

Read Dr. Jamison’s complete blog post at AEI.