You were expecting positive newspaper news?
A Facebook friend of mine chastised me on Thursday after reading my story about salary reductions at The New York Times and buyouts at The Washington Post. He wanted to know why I hadn’t found anything positive to write about newspapers in a while.
Watch me use the the Newspaper Associations’ fourth-quarter newspaper advertising numbers, released on Thursday, to dash my friend’s expectations.
Here’s the roundup:
- Print ad sales: Down 20.6 percent. That compares to down 11.6 percent in the fourth quarter a year ago. It also is a downhill slide from 19.3 percent in Q3 2008, 16.1 percent in Q2 and 14.4 in Q1.
- Online ad sales: Down 8.1 percent versus up 22.3 percent last year. It’s also worse than the previous three quarters of down 3 percent, down 2.4 percent and up 7.2 percent.
- Total print and online? Down 19.7 percent versus down 10.3 percent last year. Previous three quarters? Down 18.1 percent, 15.1 percent, 12.9 percent.
If there’s a positive story to write, it’s that the bleeding might slow once the economy recovers. But when will that be? I’m sorry, but the beatings really will continue until morale improves.