NAA: Newspaper Ad Revs Fell in 2013, Digital Slightly Up

Total newspaper revenues, including advertising and circulation, fell 2.5% from $38.6 billion in 2012 to $37.5 billion in 2013, according to the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of America. Annual comparisons are now the only benchmark for measuring the newspaper industry’s performance, as the NAA stopped releasing quarterly figures at the end of 2013.
 
Total advertising revenues fell 6.5% to $23.57 billion, according to the NAA, while circulation revenues increased 3.7% to $10.87 billion. Print advertising slipped 8.6% to $17.3 billion, and niche/non-daily advertising was down 5.8% to $1.45 billion.

These losses were slightly offset by increases in digital advertising, up 1.5% to $3.42 billion, and direct marketing, up 2.4% to $1.4 billion. Pure-play digital ad revenues increased 14%, while mobile ad revenues rose 77% -- yet mobile still contributes less than 1% of total ad revenues.

Other sources of revenue, including digital agency and marketing services, increased 5% to $3.5 billion.

In terms of ad categories, retail and national advertising both fell 8%, while classified revenues dropped 10.5%.
 
The growth in circulation revenue follows the implementation of digital subscriptions by many newspaper publishers, which typically allow readers to see a certain number of articles for free before requiring them to pay for online access. However, the rate of increase in circulation revenues may already be slowing: 2013’s 3.7% rise, an increase of $421 million, is smaller in both percentage and dollar terms than 2012’s gain of 4.5% or $460 million.
 
It’s also worth noting that newspapers’ digital advertising revenues are growing at a much slower rate than Internet advertising overall, which jumped 17% from 2012-2013, according to separate figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
 
Taking a longer view, newspapers’ total advertising revenues in 2013 were down 52.3% from a peak value of $49.44 billion in 2005. Total newspaper ad revenues have declined every year since 2006.
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