Newspapers’ Decline Will Impact BC Severely

deloitteI attended Duncan Stewart’s roadshow presentation of Deloitte’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions 2009. While there wasn’t much that was especially surprising for anyone that closely follows these sectors, the decline of the newspaper industry is worth noting:

The need for new business approaches has become increasingly apparent. While publishers have reacted, this has not always been at a sufficient pace. Given this context, up to one out of every ten print publications could be obliged either to reduce print frequency, cease physical printing or, in some cases, shut down entirely in 2009.

Duncan made an interesting point by connecting the decline of newspapers to BC’s pulp and paper industry. In short: failing newspapers is bad for BC. When you look BC’s reliance on the forestry industry, it’s pretty clear why:

  • The forest industry accounts for at least 15 percent of the province’s economy.
  • Direct 2006 forest industry activity totaled $10 billion, representing 29 percent of good producing industry GDP and 7.4 percent of total provincial GDP.
  • Forestry activity contributes approximately $17 billion to the province’s gross domestic product (GDP).
  • In 2006, forest products made up 41 percent of all B.C. exports, with a value of roughly $13.6 billion a year.
  • 90 percent of BC lumber exports and 71 percent of pulp and paper products are exported to the United States.

John Diack, former CEO of Circon Systems, put the magnitude of the problem in perspective for me – the Los Angeles Times newspaper uses approximately one-half of the pulp and paper output of the entire town of Port Alberni. Ouch.