Red, White And Down All Over: Newspaper Revenues Drop

No surprises here: Newspaper publishers suffered another round of revenue declines in the first quarter of the year, continuing a trend going all the way back to 2007. This week, the group of big publishers reporting drops includes Tribune Publishing, Lee Enterprises and E.W. Scripps.

Tribune Publishing reported that total revenues decreased 4.9% from $417 million in the first quarter of 2014 to $396 million in the first quarter of 2015, due mostly to a 5.7% drop in advertising revenues over this period, to $220 million. In terms of specific ad categories, retail fell 3.6% to $109 million, national was down 12% to $45 million, and classifieds slipped 4.5% to $66 million.

These declines were offset somewhat by an increase in circulation revenues -- up 1.8% to $109 million -- as well as growth in digital revenues, up 6.6% to $49 million. Tribune also reported growth in its digital marketing services division, with total revenue up 39.9% to $6.4 million. This was Tribune’s second full quarter as an independent company, following its spinoff from the broadcasting properties previously owned by Tribune Co. last summer.



Lee Enterprises reported that total revenues slipped 1.8% on a comparable basis, to $155.5 million. Total print and digital ad and marketing revenues fell 4.9% to $98 million, despite an 8.3% increase in digital ad revenues, to $18.8 million. By category, retail advertising fell 5.1%, classifieds were down 4.8% and national ads tumbled 11.8%. Within the classifieds category, employment was down 5.1%, automotive 9.6%, and real estate 10.1%. On the positive side, the company’s subscription revenues increased 4.7%.

E.W. Scripps reported that revenues at its newspaper division fell 7.1% to $91.5 million, as ad and marketing services revenue fell 8% to $55.1 million. Local revenues fell 6.9% to $18 million, national fell 34% to $1 million, and classifieds were down 6.2% to $16.2 million, including a 13% drop in employment and an 11% drop in automotive, while real estate gained 5.8%.

These declines were offset by a 17% increase in Scripps’ TV revenues to $120 million, reflecting the acquisition of stations from Journal Communications and Granite over the last year. As a result, consolidated revenues increased 5.3% to $215 million.

1 comment about "Red, White And Down All Over: Newspaper Revenues Drop".
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  1. Chuck Hildebrandt from Self, May 11, 2015 at 10:20 a.m.

    Shouldn't it be "Black and White and Down All Over", since the original joke is "What's black and white and [read] all over?"

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