Every quarter the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) takes a poll to measure consumer satisfaction with various industries and companies, and the first quarter results in 2009 contain some more bad news for newspapers.
How bad could it possibly get? As BusinessWeek’s Jon Fine wrote, people are currently more satisfied with airlines and even their cell phone providers than newspapers. In fact, Even Burger King, Comcast, and the U.S. Postal Service had higher scores then newspapers.
For an industry that is struggling to survive right now, this is not a good sign. How are newspapers going to be able to increase revenue when their customer base is unsatisfied and shrinking? Will consumers really pay for online content that are not happy with, then they can go to industry-specific blogs instead? For an industry that primarily based on providing news, a lot of the major news these days has been focused on the industry’s inability to make money and/or stay in business.
So why have people become unsatisfied with newspapers? Here are a few reasons:
- Less Content: Over the weekend I was talking to my father and he remarked at how thin the Boston Globe has become, saying that it used to take him the whole day to go through the paper, and now he can read everything within an hour. With thin papers comes less content – not an appealing trait.
- Old News: Thanks to the Internet, blogs and Twitter, by the time an article reaches the newspaper it’s old news. Unless a story has additional information and analysis, then it doesn’t provide the reader with anything new or unique.
- Increases Prices: Let’s face it – almost everyone under 40 is not going to pay for a newspaper when they can get more relevant content online for free. With increased prices (for less content and old news) newspapers are not exactly attracting customers, and are likely turning off some of their current ones as well.
With that said, last time I was on a plane I bought a newspaper for the flight, and found it to be much more enjoyable then the flight itself.