In a blog post at the Guardian, Roy Greenslade puts the financial changes into a bit of perspective:
So prepare — if you’re of a certain age — for a warm nostalgic bath. In 1950, with TV sets in only 9% of homes, a British street of 100 houses could be relied on to buy 140 newspapers a day and 220 on Sunday.
In 2010, with each of those houses containing an average of 2.6 TVs, the same street bought just 40 papers a day, Monday to Sunday.
Some advertising revenues fled to TV as it developed in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but not in such great numbers as to ruin newspapers, which could still rely on huge circulation sales income.
In 1966, the Daily Mirror sold 5.1m copies a day, the Daily Express 4m and the Daily Telegraph 1.4m. Last month, those titles had circulations of 1.2m, 631,000 and 635,000 respectively.
It was one of the things that struck me on my first trip back to England in 1979 — although not as badly as the bone-chilling damp — was the profusion of newspapers available. I was used to Toronto, where you could get the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and the horrible little upstart pleb rag, the Toronto Sun. Seeing all the different papers was quite an eye-opener.
No wonder why he chose to title the post “Those were the days, my friends, we’d thought they’d never end…”