The group's advertising revenues rose 3 percent to $3.16 billion in the quarter ending Sept. 30. Companies included in the compilation are a representative sample of the nation's newspaper industry, owning not only the large national newspapers (USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times) but also large, middle-market and smaller daily and weekly newspapers. The companies are Gannett, Journal Register, Knight Ridder, Lee Enterprises, McClatchy, New York Times Co., Pulitzer Inc. and Tribune Co.
Most of the companies showed increases in advertising revenue during the quarter, with the exception of Knight Ridder (down 1 percent) and Pulitzer Inc. (flat). The largest gains were posted by McClatchy (up 7 percent) and Gannett (up 6 percent), with three percent increases reported by Lee Enterprises and Tribune. New York Times Co. and Journal Register were both up slightly.
For most of the newspapers, retail was up slightly during the third quarter. Retail is key among local newspapers, which depends on the revenues to fill its run-of-press pages and preprints, and generate reader interest and involvement. The national category, which is important for many papers but not for all of them, was strong at Scripps and Tribune. The Wall Street Journal, a national newspaper that has had rough quarters since the economy took a dive in 2000, said recently that it might have seen a light at the end of the tunnel.
At the same time, classified remains down overall despite two generally bright spots and one troubled component. Most of the newspapers say automotive and real estate advertising is hot, with double-digit increases in some regions. But employment advertising, which crashed with the economy three years ago, has yet to recover. While some say the newspapers might be near the bottom, others say it will take 2004 before jobs - and, therefore, help wanted advertising - comes back.