Those calculations are based on annual and quarterly figures from the Newspaper Association of America. This figure is considerably higher than the $11.9 billion difference between total print revenues of $46.6 billion in 2006 and $34.7 billion in 2008, because it counts cumulative revenues lost in the long term, in addition to year-to-year declines.
To put $18.7 billion in perspective, it's more than the gross domestic product of Iceland, pegged at $17.55 billion by the International Monetary Fund in 2008. On the other hand, it's only about one-third of the value of Bernie Madoff's securities fraud, estimated at around $50 billion.
Many in the newspaper industry have counted on their online operations to salvage the bottom line, but that may be quixotic. During 2006 to 2008, total Internet revenues amounted to $8.9 billion -- less than half the losses on the print side. What's more, after anemic growth of $500 million from 2006-2007, Internet revenues actually declined in 2008, subtracting about $50 million.