Did The Nationals Just Pull Out Of An Ad Revenue Nosedive?

There was interesting news last week when the company that owns the "Daily Mail" reported that despite print advertising revenue going down, digital increases had picked up the slack.

For many in newspapers it might have been looked upon as a sign that -- at least for one of the biggest news brands in the UK -- the day has arrived where print losses are stable and made up for by increases in digital revenue. 

It may not be the same for all news groups, but there is encouraging news in the latest AA/Warc figures for third quarter for 2019. 

As you would imagine, there are a whole bunch of stats about search and digital display doing great, with video on demand also giving a plus sign for  growth next to the tv column, which has begun to stray into negative territory.

When we get halfway down the list of channels, however, there is unusually good news for national newspapers. Instead of the usual minus sign, we have 0.4% of growth when third-quarter 2018 is compared with the same quarter for 2019.

You'll have to forgive me if I'm wrong, or making too much of this, but it's the first time I can remember in several years that I have not seen a negative sign next to newspaper ad revenue in this quarterly ad-spend update. 

Next to the overall growth figure there is the customary positive digital growth, this time of 6.5%.

However, as usual, it's not such good news for regional papers and magazines, which see overall drops in ad revenue of -11.7% and -8.3%. Although regional papers are seeing a 5% increase in digital revenue, this is nowhere near enough to cancel print's losses.

The news gets even worse for magazines, which see an overall loss and a -3.4% reduction in online revenue. 

There's no real way to sugar-coat this. National newspapers appear to have pulled out of their nosedive as digital increases mitigate losses in print. Regional papers are not there yet, and will likely have quite a way to fall before revenue flattens out.

As for magazines, it's hard to see how they can pull out of a nosedive when overall revenue is down but so too is digital. There will be success stories for those that are not seeing this scenario, but as a sector, it's hard to be positive about the future of magazines. 

While the national press can breathe a sigh of relief with these AA/Warc figures, magazines will sadly have to accept that worse is to come.

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