Newspapers tout online growth


Ad sales for print editions are still suffering, but the Newspaper Association of America pointed proudly to growth on the Internet side as it reported facts and figures for Q1. Online ad sales for newspaper Web sites shot up 22.3% in Q1 from a year ago to 750 million bucks. Meanwhile, spending for print ads declined 6.4% to 9.8 billion.

"The percentage of ad spending generated by newspaper Web sites continues to grow as advertisers realize the value of the medium's Web audience – a group of consumers who have higher household incomes and shop online more frequently than other Internet users. We expect advertising on newspaper Web sites to continue to contribute to the industry's overall revenue stream as newspapers provide innovative content and up-to-the-minute news and information our audience demands," said NAA President and CEO John Sturm.

The pain on the print side was across the board. Classified was the big loser, falling 13.2% to 3.4 billion. Retail was down 2.2% to 4.8 billion and national declined 2.8% to 1.7 billion. All in all, newspaper ad revenues for Q1 of 2007, print and online combined, declined 4.8% to 10.6 billion.

RBR observation: The problem, of course, is that the double digit growth in online ad revenues is from a base still measured in hundreds of millions, while the declines on the print side are from figures in the billions. If you draw a graph and project out, those lines will eventually cross. It is, however, going to be a very painful time for the newspaper industry as it works to get to that revenue intersection. Meanwhile, everybody and their brother are competing for a piece of that online ad pie.