No Rest for the Dreary: Newspaper Revs Fall 28%

The economy may have rallied in the third quarter, but the newspaper industry did not, as total advertising revenues -- including print and online -- tumbled 28%, from roughly $10.1 billion in the third quarter of 2008 to about $6.4 billion this year. The third-quarter loss is on par with first and second-quarter declines of 28.3% and 29%, respectively.

As in previous quarters, losses were spread evenly across all the main newspaper advertising categories -- including national, down 29.8%, retail, down 24%, and classifieds, down 37.9%.

National advertising in particular reached a discouraging milestone in the third quarter, with total revenues falling below $1 billion (to $956 million). That's the first time since the third quarter of 1995.

Newspaper revs 2005-2009

In classifieds, losses were led by the recruitment category, which suffered a vertigo-inducing 64.7% drop, from $497.5 million to just $176 million.

Real estate and automotive both followed with 43% declines, with real estate tumbling from $629 million to $358.5 million, and automotive dropping from $564 million to $321 million.

Similar to previous quarters, newspaper print ad revenue declines were joined by online, which fell 17% from $750 million in the third quarter of 2008 to $623 million this year.

With the latest results, the newspaper industry's total print revenues have experienced year-over-year declines for 14 straight quarters, while online has fallen for six straight quarters.

For the year-to-date through September, total ad revenues came to just over $19.8 billion, compared to about $27.8 billion in the same period last year -- a 29% decline. This year's figures represent a 44% decline from peak revenues of $35.3 billion in the first nine months of 2005.

6 comments about "No Rest for the Dreary: Newspaper Revs Fall 28% ".
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  1. Richard Wakefield from Glennco Consulting Group, Inc., November 20, 2009 at 8:31 a.m.

    The reported NAA ad expenditures is no surprise.

    We forecasted the 3rd qtr of 2009 would be $6.469 billion and the NAA reported $6.444 billion as your article reported. Since our forecast and the reported are so close, we expect our 2009 total forecast of $27.230 down 28.1% from 2008 is realistic; however, over the next few days, will will update the forecast model with the 2009q3 NAA reported numbers and prepare a final 2009 forecast and an updated 2010 (quarterly and annual) forecast.

  2. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, November 20, 2009 at 8:58 a.m.

    Being a newspaper reader requires a commitment that has been (is being) systematically bred out of us.

    Too bad, because there are precious few opportunities to slow down these days.

    I have a morning ritual with the Chicago Tribune that is very important to me, and I, for one, will miss it when it's gone. I just don't see myself relaxing with a morning cup of coffee and my laptop. In fact, I hate my laptop and everything it stands for.

    But the real tragedy is the loss of community that will accompany newspaper's demise. The local stories relegated to the middle pages - the very soul of the community - will disappear forever.

    Thank goodness we'll still be able to keep up with the Kardashians everywhere we look online.

  3. Cecil Foster from Cleveland Daily Banner, November 20, 2009 at 9:45 a.m.

    Brothers Einstein, I applaud your dedication to those of us in the print media. I, too was raised to read at least one newspaper a day, my parents subscribed to three, one A.M. and two P.M. papers and I still need my daily "fix" of print news. Working as a Circulation and Newspapers In Education Manager I am gratified to see an increase in the use of the newspaper as a teaching aid in our local classrooms. However, when I speak to students in a classroom setting I urge them to diversify to both print and digital media. Newspapers will always be here, they may not be called a newspaper, but in one form or another they will be here, laptop or electronic newsreader, or for another fifteen to twenty years ink on fingers print versions.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 20, 2009 at 9:56 a.m.

    Another reason for management to force and berate their salesforce into giving more long presentation to small business owners. Then when the numbers aren't made, the sales department can be blamed. Sounds ridiculous. Unfortunately.........

  5. Laura Lindsay from Madden Preprint Media, November 20, 2009 at 10:48 a.m.

    I would like to see a table of losses or gains for many major industries side by side, newspapers included. Are newspapers really doing that much worse than other industries?

  6. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., November 20, 2009 at 12:31 p.m.

    This is so predictable and sad I can't even comment. Ooops. They could've been a contender.

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