Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Newspaper Ad Sales Continue Decline

Newspaper Ad Sales Continue Decline

According to Emily Steel of the Wall Street Journal,

“Last fall, newspaper executives and analysts were caught by surprise by the severity of a slump that took hold last summer. Since the beginning of this year, the rate of decline in advertising revenue has accelerated. Total print and online ad revenue was down 4.8% to $10.6 billion in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the Newspaper Association of America, compared with its full-year decline in 2006 of 0.3%.”

. . .

“Gannett, which publishes 85 daily newspapers, including USA Today, said its newspaper ad revenue dropped 6.8% in May. Ad revenue at New York Times Co.'s News Media unit -- which includes advertising generated at its media properties, but not About.com -- dropped 9.9% in May. At McClatchy, which publishes 31 dailies, ad revenue in May dropped 11.5% to $153 million. Ad spending at The Wall Street Journal was down 3.4% in May."

Steel focuses on the stock tailspin that the decline has caused in the newspaper industry, leading to restructuring and consolidations. The decline in ads sales also affects the public relations industry and in particular, our clients. Fewer ads mean less printed pages which equates to fewer and fewer editorial opportunities. I believe this is a big reason for the public relations industry’s push to harness the opportunities afforded by the Internet, especially social media. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out over the next decade or so as the Baby Booming print readers make way for Gen X and Gen Y, both of which are migrating more and more to digital media for their news delivery.

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