Judging the overall health of the newspaper industry became a bit harder in September, when the Newspaper Association of America announced that it would no longer be
reporting quarterly results in favor of annual results, in order “to produce a more comprehensive report to properly reflect the evolving nature of the newspaper industry and its
However, many publicly traded newspaper companies still release quarterly results, and a survey of 10 such companies of varying sizes shows a continued downward trend
in line with the industry’s trajectory to date.
All 10 publishers surveyed -- A.H. Belo, E.W. Scripps, Gannett Co., Gatehouse Media, Journal Communications, Lee Enterprises,
McClatchy Co., New York Times Co., News Corp., and Tribune Co. -- saw total revenues decline at their newspaper publishing divisions, with an average percentage decline of 3.8%.
the nine companies reporting specific results for different revenue categories, there was an average percentage decline of 7.6% in advertising revenues. Seven out of 10 companies reported specific
results for classified advertising, with an average drop of 9% in this category, while national advertising (six out of ten reporting) showed an average drop of 11.3%, and local advertising (six out
of ten reporting) fell 5.7%.
Digital advertising (seven out of 10 reporting) grew 5.1% on average. Circulation revenues (reported by all 10 companies) increased 0.5% on average,
reflecting the success of some publishers’ online paywall strategies.
These figures should be treated with caution, as they are based on a sample that excludes privately owned
companies -- e.g., Hearst Corp., Digital First -- and skew toward larger, national chains