It seem that the first huge problem was the literature for "donations only." It was only a matter of time.
Bethel layoffs were starting in the late 1990's. I always thought it was the ultimate stab in the back to call the volunteers "family" then send them packing when they never expected to leave.
Bethel closings is huge. Certainly, the way they have handled it in Spain was a total blunder. I doubt the average American JW knows too much about this, but things are different outside of the USA.
Exiting Brooklyn is not so big a deal to their reputation if handled right.
Mag. reduction and the paperback books is a big sign to the members of problems. The paperback Bibles were a huge blunder that probably wound up costing more than it saved.
Don't forget pedophile payoffs. That's deeply cutting into the bottom line.
Even without their own blunders, the publishing business is dying. Newspapers are barely holding on. Amazon sold more e-books than printed literature.
Personally, I think WTS is still ahead of the money curve. They have cut back so much before it was too late and will cut back more. They managed to capture Kingdom Hall properties and will be selling them for years. Brooklyn sales have delayed the inevitable. COnventions and assemblies still come out ahead or else they would cancel them. But the inevitable is coming. The curve will run out.
I do sense some lawyers and accountants looking for a smaller core group WTS. What good are 7 million people if they place literature that costs you money and their donations are barely enough to support the local Kingdom Hall. I suppose it's less of a collapse that I expect and more of a slow shrinkage to near death. The shrinkage is also going to pick up speed from young ones leaving after they look at the internet.
A splintering? Yeah, it could happen. They really went too far with "overlap generation." I could see another group "studying the Bible." Or there could be a money split as the printing money dries up. Something similar to the Rutherford takeover.
Media coverage, I don't know. The Catholic church survived. Jehovah's Witnesses and Watchtower are such minor players in the world scene. I don't know that most people noticed any of the past coverage. They confuse JW's with adventists, Mormons, Christian Scientists, whoever.