Local Media Survey: Publishers Expect Second Half Of Year To Stabilize

Publishers have suffered significant impacts on print advertising revenue since the COVID-19 pandemic, but digital advertising and subscriptions seem to be on the rise, according to survey results from global advisory firm FTI Consulting, based on Local Media Consortium members.

“Like many industries, local media has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, seeing steep declines in advertising revenue, which have resulted in the closure of more than 50 newsrooms according to Poynter,” stated Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. 

Wills continued: “We are encouraged that the FTI survey shows many publishers expect advertising revenue declines to stabilize in the second half of the year and circulation numbers are forecast to remain strong.”

The survey polled LMC newspaper media members — which includes nearly 92 local media companies and more than 4,000 outlets — during the first two weeks of July. The survey asked publishers how revenue, advertising and subscriptions have been affected by the pandemic.



It also asked for their forecast for the remainder of Q3 and Q4 2020.

On average, publishers expect to stem total revenue declines in the second half of the year, according to the survey. Most publishers believe 15% year-over-year top-line revenue loss is possible by Q4 2020.

The COVID-19 bump for digital subscriptions is expected to slow.

On average, publishers expect to reduce costs by about 17% in Q2 and Q3 2020, with some costs returning in Q4 as revenue returns.

Publishers have been hit by declines in advertising and sales, and made cost-cutting reductions in newsrooms to mitigate declining ad revenue.

LMC is supporting its local media members during the pandemic through cost-saving and revenue=generating partnerships and initiatives, like The Matchup, according to Wills.

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