There’s always something to howl about

LA Times…the 1st of many?

My buddy Jon Karlen writes on one of my blogs, RealEstateIndustryWatch. Today, he beat me to the punch and posted this.

Yes it is true. The LA Times Sunday Real Estate Section is now gone. Due to space constraints and budget cutbacks, it has printed it’s last issue.

One has to wonder if this will not be the first of many to face a new reality (for them). The online real estate marketplace IS the real estate marketplace. How many more will go? How soon? How many will consolidate into other sections of the paper? Who knows.



24 Comments so far

  1. Vote for this on July 29th, 2008 8:43 pm

    LA Times…the 1st of many? | BloodhoundBlog…

    My buddy Jon Karlen writes on one of my blogs, RealEstateIndustryWatch. Today, he beat me to the punch and posted this….

  2. Doug Quance July 29th, 2008 8:49 pm

    Real estate ads in the newspaper have been a waste of money for a long time. Sooner of later, this had to come.

    Most bigger papers, however, do have an online presence to offer agents.

  3. Tom Vanderwell July 29th, 2008 9:29 pm

    I haven’t purchase a house since 2003, but the house we bought we first saw in the newspaper. Would we have found it by calling our Realtor? Maybe, but we were just starting to think about buying a new house (adopting two more kids brings up space issues) and my wife opened the local paper and said, “Hey, look at this house…..” The rest, as they say, is history.

    But I agree, a lot has changed since 2003.


  4. Chris Lengquist July 29th, 2008 9:36 pm

    I feel like I just watched TWA fly it’s last flight.

  5. Brad Coy July 29th, 2008 10:01 pm


    I cringe at the idea of posting Sunday open houses at about $75 bucks a pop.

  6. […] Blackwell posted about the news -> Bloodhound article. Eric was got the tip from Real Estate Industry […]

  7. Judy Orr July 29th, 2008 10:54 pm

    There was a local paper that was very popular. It has changed its name twice and finally merged with another local rag and has a 3rd new name which is a combination of the two papers. The Sunday edition used to be thick with classifieds and it’s much thinner now. When you do look at the ads it’s mostly fsbo’s and a few die hard real estate brokerages.

    Same with our homes magazines – much thinner. I’ll put an ad in once in a while to make a seller happy and I haven’t received one phone call from those ads, although I do direct readers to my website.

  8. DJ Swanepoel July 30th, 2008 12:53 am

    Newspaper advertising will just continue to get more expensive as papers move online in increasing numbers. The digital age is here; better yet, its an age that’s ushered in many great classified sites for real estate; whiuch is in turn pushing down the amount people advertise in sites offline.

  9. I guess it is a sign of the times. I wonder, how long it will be before newspapers all together are obsolete?

  10. Mike Taylor July 30th, 2008 3:50 am

    This is definitely the sign of things to come. Our local homes section of the paper is totally useless. It usually has builder advertisements, some lame nationally syndicated article on how to hang wall paper (or something equally useless) and then there is the always exciting ads, most with no pictures.

  11. Eric Blackwell July 30th, 2008 5:15 am

    I’d agree with that assessment Mike.

    @Tom- I joined RE/MAX Properties East in 2003. The way homes are marketed today (specifically the marketing channels) have changed DRAMATICALLY. In 2003, agents in our office spent 75% to 80% of their money on print advertising. A significant percentage of that was inventory advertising.

    Today, we even have our open houses posted on our brokerage site AND the Board’s website. Those channels draw more open house visitors that the paper. Many of our agents now choose NOT to advertise open houses in the paper for that very reason.



  12. Kevin Warmath - Alpharetta Real Estate July 30th, 2008 5:54 am

    The Atlanta Journal Constitution is ceasing publication of it neibhorhood sections, like Northside, which covered North Fulton, and Gwinnett, etc. They can’t afford to cover the beats. Advertisers are going to hate this because those were targeted audiences.

    Is it a matter of time before the AJC gets rid of it print real estate section too? The AJC Homefinder section is already pretty useless…canned cookie-cutter reporting + adverts by builders.

  13. Mike Farmer July 30th, 2008 12:01 pm

    It’s difficult for someone my age to imagine a world without newspapers — for 20 somethings, not so difficult.

    When you stop to think about it, it’s easy to see a time in the not too distant future when newspapers will be unnecessary. News will be streaming live over devices we put on like sunglasses.

  14. Sue July 30th, 2008 6:57 pm

    I think it is a matter of time before newspapers become obsolete. It seems inevitable to me. They’re messy, always easier to just access on line ad then you can forward to people, etc. Start saving them, for your collection of oldies but goodies..along with the “records” and 8 track tapes. Now I’m really dating myself.

  15. Jonathan Blackwell July 30th, 2008 7:51 pm

    Isn’t it just a matter of time before ALL print papers go away?

  16. Malok July 31st, 2008 5:09 am

    Definitely should be interesting to see how the other major newspapers react in the coming months. Once someone takes the first step in a particular direction – a lot of persons usually end up following.

  17. John Sabia July 31st, 2008 6:54 am

    Same thing here in Fort Lauderdale. The Sunday home edition used to be a newspaper of its own. Can’t say I am disappointed when the editorial pages have been mostly negative.

  18. Benjamin Dona July 31st, 2008 8:42 am

    Our local rag is headed this way also. It used to be over 50% of the Sunday edition was real estate ads, but in the last year or so, it is now down to just two small sections. If it wasn’t for the local builders and one large independent, they would be gone too.

  19. […] at BHB and Seattle PI asks – Is Real Estate Newspaper Advertising on its Death […]

  20. MARK Z July 31st, 2008 10:59 pm

    It’s not just the L.A. Times, pick up any real estate book in Michigan and you will see that the book has went from 30 pages to now less than 10 pages. I predict within a year there will not be any print advertising. It just won’t be worth the vendors time.

  21. Bob August 2nd, 2008 10:30 am

    The end was inevitable and planned. The time frame, however, was not what they anticipated and was sped up due to the lack of ad dollars.

    Is the end near for print? Absolutely. And it’s the NY Times leading the way.

    New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, January, 2007 was asked the following:

    “Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years?”

    His answer:

    “I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either,”

    The following excerpts are from a rare interview Sulzberger gave to Eytan Avriel of, the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel:

    Sulzberger says the New York Times is on a journey that will conclude the day the company decides to stop printing the paper. That will mark the end of the transition. It’s a long journey, and there will be bumps on the road, says the man at the driving wheel, but he doesn’t see a black void ahead.

    The New York Times recently merged its print and online news desks. Did it go smoothly, or were there ruffled feathers? Which team is leading the way today?

    “You know what a newspaper’s news desk is like? It’s like the emergency room at a hospital, or an office in the military. Both organizations are very goal-oriented, and both are very hard to change,” Sulzberger says.

    Once change begins, it happens quickly, so the transition was difficult, he says. “But once the journalists rasped the concept, they flipped and embraced it, and supported the move.” That included veteran managers, too.

    “We live in the Internet world. We have, for example, five people working in a special development unit whose only job is to initiate and develop things related to the electronic world – Internet, cellular, whatever comes.

    In the age of bloggers, what is the future of online newspapers and the profession in general? There are millions of bloggers out there, and if the Times forgets who and what they are, it will lose the war, and rightly so, according to Sulzberger. “We are curators, curators of news. People don’t click onto the New York Times to read blogs. They want reliable news that they can trust,” he says.

    “We aren’t ignoring what’s happening. We understand that the newspaper is not the focal point of city life as it was 10 years ago.

    “Once upon a time, people had to read the paper to find out what was going on in theater. Today there are hundreds of forums and sites with that information,” he says. “But the paper can integrate material from bloggers and external writers. We need to be part of that community and to have dialogue with the online world.”

    The story here isn’t that papers are losing, but that they are finally making the same move away from print advertising to online advertising that some of us did awhile ago. What this means is that the online edge we have enjoyed for the better part of this decade is tilting back to the big boys.

    A few years ago I met the SEO that the NY Times hired to effect the change referenced here:

    “Once change begins, it happens quickly, so the transition was difficult, he says. “But once the journalists rasped the concept, they flipped and embraced it, and supported the move.” That included veteran managers, too.”

    This guy required everyone from copyboy to editor to go through his training on how to write for an online audience that includes search engines.

    In San Diego, it was announced that Copley Press has retained Evercore Partners, which represented Copley in the 2006 and 2007 sales of newspapers in Los Angeles and in the Midwest, to explore the sale of San Diego’s biggest and oldest daily, the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Challenging economies like what we have today bring forth change faster than booming economies as risk and waste is slashed and cost saving efficiencies are sought.

    Are you prepared?

  22. Eric Blackwell August 2nd, 2008 11:44 am

    That is an incredibly insightful comment. And is spot on. I wrote this as more of a note of a milestone on the passing of print media… but the reality is that it is the STARTING line of the newspapers official entry into the online business for REAL. They have been living in denial (for the most part). This changes that.

    Well said,IMO.


  23. Bob August 2nd, 2008 1:43 pm

    Thanks Eric.

    I have been preaching this for awhile, but it is amazing how much falls on deaf ears, particularly those of the so-called enlightened real estate bloggers.

    What is interesting to me is how many non-RE blogging celebs get it and want to do what it takes to compete with the real players online. A few in your office fit that bill.

  24. […] Bob Wilson mentioned in the comments of the last post about the LA Times that this was not the end of dead tree media, but the genesis of their online effort, he was […]