Online advertising catches up to newspapers in 2010

December 20, 2010

newspapersThe newspaper industry had a lot of bad knocks this year. Advertising revenue continued to decline, when just about every other media sector — like local broadcast TV, for example — rebounded beautifully. For newspaper companies  the term “moderating ad revenue declines” has become the new flat.

Now comes word from the research firm eMarketer that online advertising in the U.S. is expected to outgun newspaper advertising in 2010. For the year, online ad spending is expected to rise about 14 percent to $25.8 billion, while print advertising spending in newspapers is expected to decline about 8 percent to $22.8 billion. The research firm includes everything from Google and eBay to the New York Times in its online advertising category.

eMarketer also points out that total ad spending for newspapers including print and online will reach $25.7 billion in 2010, which it says is “shy of the $25.8 billion advertisers will spend on Internet ads.”

Except it all depends on how you do the math. The $25.8 billion figure for online ad spend also includes Internet advertising spending on newspaper websites.  According to the Newspaper Association of America, newspapers online ad revenue hit about $2.7 billion in 2009. So taking out that figure, combined print and online advertising revenue for newspapers will still eclipse online advertising spending at all other websites except newspapers for 2010.

Yet, any way you slice it, the numbers still point to a worrisome trend: Any gains that newspapers make with online ad revenue is not enough to offset print losses.

(Photo: Reuters)

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