Dismal numbers for newspapers


The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) reports that revenues for the nation’s newspapers fell 29% in Q2. It was the 10th straight quarterly decline.

The double-digit decline in Q2 dropped total newspaper revenues to $6.82 billion. The last Q2 below that mark was 1985. And if you exclude the $653 million in online revenues from Q2 2009, you have to go back to 1983 to find a lower Q2. Back then, though, revenues were still rising at a double-digit annual rate.

For the most recent quarter, retail advertising revenues for US newspapers fell 24.9% to $3.56 billion, national was down 29.6% to $1.11 billion and classified plunged 40.4% to $1.49 billion. That put total newspaper advertising, excluding online, at $6.16 billion, down 30.2%. Online fell as well, off 15.9% to 653 million. So the grand total was $6.82 billion, down 29%.

NAA President and CEO John Sturm had this to say about the quarterly report:

“This data represents a rearview mirror perspective on what we all know was a terrible stretch of bad road.  Our numbers may offer a little more detail and specificity than other sources about the challenges our industry has endured (which are similar to those facing other media), but they come as no surprise, given what we have already heard in financial reports from public media companies.

There are, however, reasons to remain optimistic.  The latest data from Nielsen Online indicates more than 70 million people visited newspaper Web sites in June – more than one-third of all Internet users.  And initial findings from a new MORI Research study show newspaper advertising remains the leading advertising medium cited by consumers in planning, shopping and making purchasing decisions, and drives them to take action (from clipping a coupon or making a purchase to visiting a Web site for more information about a particular product).

When the economy eventually begins its recovery, advertisers will return to spending, and newspapers will find themselves extremely well positioned to harness the strength of their print and digital platforms to build a brighter future.”