Newspaper ad revenue falls. Again.
The third-quarter newspaper advertising numbers came out on Wednesday, just in time to have something somber to think about while getting tipsy on that fourth helping of cranberry sauce with cognac on Thanksgiving Day.
Print ad revenue down 19.26 percent to $8.2 billion. (Down 16.07 percent in Q2, down 14.38 percent in Q1)
Online ad revenue down 3 percent to $749.8 million. (Down 2.4 percent in Q2, up 7.2 percent in Q1)
Combined is down 18.11 percent to $8.94 billion. (Down 15.11 percent in Q2, Down 12.85 percent in Q1)
We could throw other numbers at you to prove a point, but instead we’ll just do the instant analysis: These numbers are bad bad bad. The trend, as you might guess, also is bad.
We would tell you to keep in mind that the financial crisis we’re slogging through isn’t helping matters any, but we’ll let the statement from the Newspaper Association of America, which publishes the numbers do it instead. There’s no way to make the situation look good right now, but at least it doesn’t try (not too hard, anyway):
No one should be surprised that the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with its downdraft in consumer confidence and spending having an immediate impact on advertising, is reflected in the latest data on newspaper advertising. But some important indicators for the future of the newspaper business stand out in this difficult environment:
The continued reliance on newspaper advertising by companies, industries, candidates, foreign governments and others who have something important to say to the American consumer and society – proof of the power of newspapers to influence attitudes and action.
The unprecedented surge in single copy sales of newspapers that recorded the historic election of our new president – an iconic example of the enduring power of the print medium as a preferred chronicle for information that matters (as well as, of course, a wonderful collectible).
The expanding position of newspaper Web sites in the digital information space – a demonstration that our industry’s transition to models that serve the future is underway – delivering what tomorrow’s audiences want, today.
We don’t have a crystal ball to foretell when the turn in the economy will come. But we do know that when it happens, the newspaper industry, having taken some tough knocks and tough steps, will continue to be a key player in news and information.
— John F. Sturm, president and chief executive officer, Newspaper Association of America
As the newspaper beat reporter, I know that some of you like to beat up the business for all sorts of missteps that got us where we are today. But since it’s Thanksgiving, maybe we can hope for a change in the weather when it comes to the future of journalism? It can’t hurt…