Down is still down, but for the first time since 2006 the US newspaper industry has reported a quarter with no segment decline in the double-digit percentages. And the online portion of the newspaper business actually reported a double-digit percentage increase.
According to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), Q2 industry ad revenues were down 5.55% to $6.44 billion. Total print ad revenues declined 7.62% to $5.7 billion, while online ad revenues rose 13.9% to $744 million. Within the print revenues, retain fell 9.59% to $3.22 billion, national was off 3.12% to $1.1 billion and classified fell 6.27% to $1.4 billion.
“The steady transformation of the newspaper industry is clearly evident in these latest revenue figures. Despite a highly competitive environment, online advertising growth rebounded back into double digits, while declines in traditional revenue categories continue to moderate as the general advertising recovery progresses. The fact that online now represents nearly 12% of overall newspaper advertising revenues bodes well for our medium’s future in an increasingly digital environment,” said NAA President and CEO John Sturm.
“Even as the economy is slow to rebound, there is heightened optimism within the industry – a confidence reflected in second quarter earnings reports from public newspaper companies. New business models are taking hold, with publishers continuing to invest in platforms that deepen audience engagement in print and online. In a world where trusted, high-quality content is in demand, newspaper companies are uniquely positioned to benefit from the advertising recovery,” he added.
RBR-TVBR observation: Even with online revenues filling some of the gap, the newspaper business will be but a shadow of its former self even if print revenues finally do turn back up at some point. The previous Q2 below this year’s $6.44 billion was in 1985. And back then there wasn’t even an online component to be added in.