Newspaper revenues fell by almost one-third in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, from $10.1 billion to $6.8 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
The overall decline of 29% resulted from a 30% drop in print revenues -- from $9.3 billion to just under $6.2 billion -- and a 16% drop in online revenues, from $778 million to $653 million.
As in previous quarters, the losses cut across every major advertising category, with national dropping 30% from $1.6 billion to $1.1 billion, retail dropping 25% from $4.7 billion to $3.6 billion, and classifieds down a whopping 40% from $2.5 billion to $1.4 billion.
The continuing collapse of classified revenues is especially bad news, as they were long the mainstay of newspaper ad revenues.
In the second quarter, automotive classifieds tumbled 43% to $332 million, real estate fell 46% to $336 million, and recruitment plunged an alarming 66% to $202 million.
While these drops are partly the result of the cyclical economic downturn, they mostly reflect the ongoing migration of classified listings from print to the Web.
Comparing the classified revenues with figures from 2005 reveals just how catastrophic the intervening years have been: In the second quarter of 2005, auto classified revenues were almost $1.1 billion, real estate followed close behind with an even $1 billion, and recruitment shone with revenues of $1.3 billion.
In overall revenues, the comparison is almost as stark. Revenues of $6.8 billion in the second quarter of 2009 are about 44% lower than the 2005 total of $12.2 billion.