Print, Radio Revs Braced For 2012 Declines

2012 doesn’t hold much hope for some of the main traditional media categories, including newspapers, magazines and radio, judging by the latest advertising forecast from MagnaGlobal, which sees revenue losses for all three media. The declines come amid growing competition from online advertising, as well as continuing economic uncertainty.

Total U.S. radio advertising revenues will decrease 0.8% in 2012, according to MagnaGlobal, which also predicts declines of 5.2% for magazines and 6% for newspapers. These drops are especially noteworthy because MagnaGlobal forecasts overall U.S. advertising growth of 2% to just shy of $150 billion, when Olympic and political advertising are discounted. Including these special categories, total advertising will grow 3.7% to almost $153 billion.

This growth will have to come from other media. Thus, MagnaGlobal sees Internet media jumping 10.9%, due mostly to continued increases in paid search, online video, and burgeoning mobile advertising. Broadcast TV will grow 8.5% in 2012, largely on the strength of the Olympics and political ads. Outdoor media will experience more modest but sustained growth, with a 4% increase in 2012.



MagnaGlobal explained the misfortunes of radio and print, as well as the slow growth rate for media in general: “A weak economic environment and high unemployment (forecast to remain above 8%) will result in cautious consumption growth and marketing expenditure."

The new forecasts for magazines and newspapers are especially ominous, coming on the heels of earlier declines. Through the third quarter of 2011, newspapers have experienced 21 straight quarters of year-over-year revenue declines, according to the Newspaper Association of America, and the fourth quarter is expected to bring another revenue decline.

Total magazine ad pages dropped 8% in the fourth quarter of 2011, following a 5.6% drop in the third quarter -- ending an anemic recovery, as sustained growth failed to take hold after the downturn of 2008-2009.

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