There has been no relief for the newspaper business in the second half of this year, judging by the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of America, which have total ad revenues declining 8.9% from $6.1 billion in the third quarter of 2010 to $5.56 billion in the third quarter of 2011.
Total print ad revenues fell 10.8% from $5.4 billion to $4.8 billion, while total digital revenues increased 6.2% from $690 million to $733 million.
The overall percentage decline in the third quarter was actually larger than in the two previous quarters, dashing hopes that the rate of decline might at least be slowing. Total industry ad revenues, combining print and digital, dropped 7% in the first quarter of 2011 and 6.9% in the second.
The third-quarter declines were spread evenly across all the major advertising categories, with national dropping 13.4% from $951 million to $823 million, retail down 9% from $3.1 billion to $2.8 billion, and classifieds sliding 12.9% from $1.37 billion to $1.2 billion. Within the classifieds category, automotive fell 12.8% to $268 million, real estate fell 21.9% to $236 million, and help wanted fell 4.9% to $176 million.
This marks the 21st straight quarter of consecutive year-over-year ad revenue declines for the newspaper business, during which time the industry has shed more than half its total revenues. Total ad revenues for the first three quarters of 2011 come to $17.1 billion, down 51.6% from $35.3 billion in the first three quarters of 2006.
The one bright spot on the ledger -- digital advertising -- remains a fairly small part of the overall newspaper business. Third-quarter digital ad revenues of $733 million represented just 13.2% of total newspaper ad revenues, up from 11.3% in the third quarter of 2010.