Zenith: More Losses for Newspapers, Mags in 2010-2011


In case the latest ZenithOptimedia ad-spending forecast wasn't depressing enough, the outlook for newspapers and magazines is especially bad -- even relative to the grim state of advertising in general.

Among the gloomy predictions: while overall ad spending is expected to rebound somewhat in 2011, newspapers and magazines will continue to decline due to secular factors, including Internet competition.

ZenithOptimedia expects total ad spending in developed markets to drop 9.9% in 2009, followed by a further 2.9% decline in 2010, thanks to continuing structural economic problems. After this, the Zenith forecast has ad spending in developed markets growing 1.5% in 2011. In North America, this means total ad spending will climb from just under $179 billion in 2008 to $152 billion in 2011.



But newspapers and magazines will not share the modest growth from 2010-2011. Globally, newspaper ad expenditures are predicted to fall 17% in 2009, 4.5% in 2010, and 0.5% in 2011. In dollar terms, that means total spending will go from $123.1 billion in 2008 to $97.2 billion in 2009, for an overall drop of 20% from 2008-2011.

Magazines will fare about the same, according to Zenith, shrinking 20% in 2009, 5.9% in 2010, and 0.5% in 2011. In dollar terms, total spending for magazines will tumble from $56.6 billion in 2008 to $42.6 billion in 2011, for an overall drop of 25% over this three-year period. In terms of share of global ad spending, Zenith expects newspapers to fall from 25.3% in 2008 to 21.2% in 2011, while magazines will slip from 11.6% to 9.3%.

The 2009 figures are certainly plausible given the steep drops experienced by both media so far this year in the United States. Through the third quarter, magazine ad pages are down 27.2%, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, while newspaper ad revenues fell 28.3% in the first quarter and 29% in the second, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

In fact, percentage losses in the U.S. media may be steeper than the global average, as print media have enjoyed more success in developing markets like China and India over the last few years.

Zenith's forecast is somewhat more pessimistic than some other predictions, including one issued earlier this year by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which estimated global newspaper revenues would decline 10.2% in 2009 followed by cumulative annual declines of 2% per year in 2010-2013. PWC expects print advertising income to decline by a cumulative rate of 4.5% per year from 2009-2013.

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