Will Internet Bingo Help Newspapers to Remain Profitable ?

The internet has had a profound economic effect on print media such as newspapers. Today most newspapers offer free online editions supported by advertising revenues. Decreasing physical sales have put many newspapers in a bind and in many cases the revenues received from advertising are not enough to make up for actual production. Some newspapers charge a fee for access to their online editions. Two notable examples are the venerable Wall Street Journal and the UK tabloid the Sun both owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Many UK newspapers have made staff cuts. The Gannett-owned Newsquest is planning £2 million cuts at its Glasgow center and jobs will also be cut at the Herald, The Sunday Herald and The Evening Times. The Manchester Evening News closed five regional offices and cut jobs. Job cuts are not limited to the UK. In the United States most major newspapers have laid off staff and made permanent job cuts. The London Times caused controversy when it announced it would charge a fee for their online edition. Users now have to register and pay a fee to access content. Since the ability to read news online has become important for so many readers newspapers have to find a way to remain profitable.

Murdoch’s Sun newspaper has found a novel way to generate revenues; online bingo and gaming. The Sun considered requiring users to pay a fee but the decision was reversed. Instead the Sun turned to internet bingo. The Sun has a long history with bingo dating back to the 70’s and 80’s. In those days the Sun had many readers that purchased the paper for the bingo games provided by the Sun. Evidently the Sun’s move has been well received. According to a report by the World Association of Newspapers the Sun makes 80% of its online profits from Sun Bingo and its gambling channel Sun Bet.

Other newspapers have tries bingo with mixed results. Daily Mirror has lost quite a bit of money from their internet bingo site. The Mirror Group derived a lot of income from internet advertising but the profit margins were adversely impacted by the amount of money given away by their internet bingo site. Today many British tabloids operate internet bingo sites to remain profitable. Internet bingo has enabled many newspapers to provide readers with free online content. As can be seen there are risks but newspaper bingo is likely to be with us for some time to come. Readers that enjoy free content can thank internet bingo.