Friday, August 1, 2008

Newspaper Advertising Revenue Trends

July was a bad month for newspapers: 3,500 newspaper jobs were cut in the last two months, and $3.9 billion in stock capitalization was wiped out in the past two weeks. In other developments, the Newhouse family said it may have to sell one of its largest papers, the Start-Ledger of Newark, NJ. The paper has been loosing money for 3-4 years and Donald Newhouse, president of Advance Publications and the newspaper's owner, said he expects the paper to loose $40 million - $45 million in 2008. "This was a very difficult decision to make," Mr. Newhouse said in an interview. "We have never sold a newspaper, from my father's time to my time."

Here are the numbers behind the stories:

Newspaper advertising revenue, print and online:

Percent change in newspaper advertising revenue, year-over-year:

Newspaper Association of America Newspaper Advertising Expenditures Excel Spreadsheet

In inflation adjusted terms, the fall in newspaper advertising revenue has been 31% from 2000 - 2007.

Newspaper circulation is down an average of 2.4 percent from 2006 to 2007, although some papers, like the Star-Ledger of Newark, the 15th-largest newspaper in the country by weekday circulation, has seen weekday circulation fall 15.4% in the past five years to 345,130.

US Daily Newspaper Circulation 1990 - 2005
A shift of readership from print to online cuts several ways for newspapers. The commitment of time and attention is so much less that online readers do not command the premium rates print can charge. Paul Ginocchio, a Deutsche Bank analyst, estimates that a print reader is worth $350 a year to a newspaper, an online reader 10% to 15% of that. (Source: "State of the Media 2007")

Newspapers have been trying to make up for their advertising shortfalls by focusing on their bread-and-butter local advertising and shifting it online, but their initial modest successes seem to have fallen on hard times lately. In Q2 2008 total online newspaper advertising expenditures turned negative for the first time, falling by -2.4% to $776 million from $795 million in Q2 2007:

From Borrell Associates Report, "Say Goodbye to Yellow Pages"

Number of local online sales reps across all media types: 34,100

Media share of local online ad reps:

Size of local online advertising market (2008E): $14.1 billion dollars

Year-over-year growth in local online advertising (2007-2008E): 61%


Richard Wakefield said...

A word of caution... The NAA ad numbers are estimated Daily newspapers' advertising expenditures. These numbers are estimates of the dollars spent by advertiser to pace ad content in (daily) newspapers. Newspapers receive only a part of this number. According past Economic Censuses, newspaper revenue is about 60% of "newspaper advertising expenditures".

Incidentally, my forecast of the NAA ad exp series shows a 13% decline in 2008 followed by an additional 12% drop in 2009.

Ira Machefsky said...

Do you have a pointer to your forecasts that you could share with us?


Richard Wakefield said...

You can visit for the details of the forecast.