The oft-repeated narrative of print news going to the pits has gained another protagonist, as the century-old Christian Science Monitor recently decided to cease its daily print edition, banking now on the Internet as its key distribution mechanism.
A twist in the story is the fact that the bulk of the Monitor’s revenue stream is made from delivery subscriptions, troubling the common ad-based online news model on which most mainstream online news outlets bank their survivability.
The L.A. Times:
The century-old Christian Science Monitor said Tuesday that it would discontinue its daily print edition in April and move almost exclusively to online publication, becoming the first major national newspaper to abandon a daily paper-and-ink format.
The move, which had been expected by industry professionals and the Monitor staff, will cut annual costs by millions of dollars for the money-losing newspaper, which is subsidized by the Christian Science Church. The publication’s management and some staff members also contend that the online format will make the report more timely to subscribers, most of whom receive the Monitor by mail a day or two after the paper goes to print.
But the change will present considerable risks. Unlike most daily newspapers, the five-day-a-week Monitor receives the bulk of its revenue from subscriptions, not advertising.