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Newspapers Face Tough Sell On Higher Rates

Facing competition from new media for both advertisers and readers, as well as a worsening two decade slump in circulation, major newspaper companies will find it hard to sell their more expensive ad pages next year, says The Wall Street Journal. The highest rate increase among the majors is 6 percent for USA Today; other raises include 3 to 6 percent at the Los Angeles Times, 5 percent for The New York Times, and 2.5 percent at the Journal, which is concentrating on "wooing more advertisers." The article includes a forecast by Lehman Brothers' Craig Huber, characterized as "among the most bearish newspaper analysts on Wall Street": newspaper ad revenue will dip 1.5 percent next year, an estimate he says may not be "down enough." Huber expects this year's revenue to increase about 1 percent to 1.5 percent, lower than the industry's forecast of a 4 percent rise.



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