Newspaper Giants Exempt From Ad Recovery


While overall ad spending enjoyed a modest recovery in 2010, that did not extend to newspaper publishers, which suffered another round of declines (albeit smaller than previous ones) in the fourth quarter of the year.

The weak results were rounded out this week by A.H. Belo, publisher of The Dallas Morning News, which announced that total revenues in the fourth quarter came to $130.8 million, down 3.4% from the same period in 2009. The company attributed this to a 6% drop in ad revenue, including a 10.7% drop in display ads and an 8.8% drop in classifieds.

Belo's digital ad revenue decreased 0.9% to $9.9 million, while circulation revenue fell 3.4% to $35.1 million.

For the full year, A.H. Belo said total revenues came to $487.3 million, down 6% from 2009, due mostly to an 11.9% decrease in combined print and digital ad revenues. Display advertising for the full year dropped 15.4% to $119.7 million, while classifieds fell 15.4% to $62.8 million, and digital ad revenue slid 4.1% to $36.6 million.



The weak trend continued at The New York Times Co., which reported that total revenues fell 2.9% in 4Q to $661.7 million, reflecting a 3.1% drop in ad revenues and a 3.6% drop in circulation revenues. For the full year, NYTCO revenues declined 1.9% to $2.39 billion, reflecting a 2.7% drop in advertising revenue and a 0.5% drop in circulation revenue.

The McClatchy Co. reported similar findings: Total revenues in the fourth quarter were $369.9 million, down 5.9% from the same period in 2009, reflecting a 6.9% drop in ad revenues to $287.4 million, and a 3.3% drop in circulation revenues to $69 million. For the full year, revenues came to $1.4 billion -- down 6.5% from $1.5 billion in 2009 -- reflecting an 8.1% drop in advertising revenues to $1 billion, and a 2% drop in circulation revenues, to $272.8 million.

Gannett Co. said publishing revenues declined 4.7% in the fourth quarter to $1.1 billion, reflecting a 5.9% decline in advertising revenue, to $722.3 million. For the full year, publishing advertising revenue slipped 6.1% to $2.7 billion, while publishing circulation revenue fell 5.1% to $1.09 billion.

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