While other media appear to be embarking on a tentative recovery, the third quarter of 2010 brought no respite for newspapers, which saw total advertising revenues slip 5.4% to $6.1 billion compared to the same period last year.
This was due entirely to a 7.1% drop in print advertising revenue, to $5.4 billion. The print decline was only partially offset by a 10.7% increase in digital ad revenue, to $690 million.
As in previous quarters, declines were spread fairly evenly across all the major ad categories, although some were stronger than others. National advertising took the smallest hit, with a 0.6% decline to $950 million. Bigger losses were seen in classifieds -- down 6.4% to $1.37 billion -- and retail, down 9.3% to $3.08 billion.
Taking a closer look at the classified categories, automotive fell 4.4% to $307 million, real estate tumbled 15.7% to $302 million, and recruitment increased 5% to $184 million. The NAA's "other" category, accounting for $580 million of overall classified revenues, now comprises 42% of the whole -- up from just 17% in the third quarter of 2006. Most of this apparent increase is due to the steep decline in real estate, automotive, and recruitment over this period.
While another round of declines isn't exactly good news, it's true that the overall third quarter loss of 5.4% is smaller than previous quarters.
On that note, NAA president and CEO John F. Sturm stated: "These latest advertising figures indicate a continuing and encouraging trend toward recovery and growth for newspapers. Print revenue declines continue to slow as the economy recovers, while newspapers' multiplatform transition has allowed online growth to maintain its steady advance at a healthy double-digit rate."
Another positive note was sounded by KubasPrimedia, which recently released their Preview 2011 based on a survey of more than 400 daily newspaper executives and managers. The KubasPrimedia survey found that overall, execs expect improvement in all major ad categories in 2011 -- especially digital, but also major print categories, including recruitment and automotive.
Digital is projected to grow 18.1%, retail display 4.3%, automotive classifieds 3.4% and recruitment classifieds 1%. Real estate classifieds are expected to decline yet again in 2011, with a 1.7% drop. Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they expect to begin charging consumers for at least some of their online content in 2011.