July Newspaper Ad Results: Help Still Wanted
A MediaDailyNews analysis of 10 publicly-traded newspaper companies' revenues released this week shows that estimated ad spending for the five weeks ended Aug. 3 was $1.21 billion. Most of the major newspaper publishers benefited from increases in ad spending, with the exception of Knight Ridder (down 2%) and Pulitzer Inc. (down 1%). Media General, publisher of several Southeast newspapers, led with a 6% increase while McLatchy and Tribune registered 3% rises in July.
National advertising was particularly strong in the period and so far this year, with a 4% rise in July and a 6% increase through early August. Double-digit increases were reported at Pulitzer and E.W. Scripps, although Pulitzer's national ad spending dropped 9% in July. Knight Ridder, McClatchy and the New York Times Co. do not break out spending in the category, so their results weren't included.
Yet classifieds remains a sore spot for many of the big newspaper companies, who have seen help-wanted ads decline as the so-called jobless recovery continues and the Internet provides an alternative placement. Auto and real estate, which also factor into classified, were mostly up. But most of those gains were erased at many newspaper companies as they made up for continued sharp drops in help-wanted. The Media Daily News analysis found classified spending was flat, even with gains in other sectors of the category.
One strong performer was Media General, which saw classified revenues rise 5.8% compared to last July and 2% year-to-date. Media General's help-wanted spending was down 3.5% compared to the same period a year ago, but the decline was made up by a 5.3% increase in automotive classifieds. Within its markets, Media General might have seen glimmers of a turnaround in the beleaguered help-wanted sectors. The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune's help-wanted linage rose 4.4% for the second month in a row of year-over-year increases. Declines in help wanted were less pronounced at two other newspapers, Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina.
The Newspaper Association of America estimated last week that total advertising expenditures rose 1.6% to $11.1 billion in the second quarter. It said national advertising gained 12.8%, with telecommunications, factory automotive and coupon marketing leading the category. The retail category rose 1.7% to $5.3 billion, mostly due to food and building material stores. In the NAA's estimate, classified dropped 3.9%.
Publisher July Change YTD Change
Gannett $362.9 +2% 1,029.8 +3%
Journal Register $25.9 +1% $173.4 +1%
Knight Ridder $193.9 -2% 1,276.7 NC
Lee Enterprises $20.8 NC $222.4 +1%
McClatchy $81.5 +3% $521.4 +3%
Media General $39.5 +6% $255.7 +3%
NY Times Co. $146.6 NC $1,080.9 +2%
Pulitzer $29.6 -1% $190.9 +1%
E.W. Scripps $40.1 +2% $309.7 +2%
Tribune $271.0 +3% $1,791.6 +3%
Total $1,211.9 +2% $6,852.2 +2%
Source: MediaPost compilation of data from company statistical reports. NC = No change.