Newspapers Ahead of TV Stations in Online Ad Earnings

Newspapers Ahead of TV Stations in Online Ad Earnings

Emarketer reports that, in a survey of 711 daily newspapers and TV stations in the US about their Internet-related advertising expense, by Borrell Associates, newspapers are successful at maintaining profitable Web sites, but TV stations still have not fully captured Internet ad spending. Traditional classified advertising done online is credited for a great deal of the revenues generated, noting that newspapers built themselves on this sector (classified advertising still comprises 60% of newspapers' revenues, down from 73% in 2002). TV stations are only just moving into the classified space.

58% of the newspaper and TV station sites surveyed report online profitability for 2003, and the percentage was even higher for newspapers only, as 83% were in the black with high online profit margins. Borrell finds that the average newspaper Web site produced revenues of $17.70 per unit of print circulation. The smallest newspapers earned about $3.64 per unit, or $36,400 for papers with a circulation of 10,000, while the largest newspapers saw revenues of $27.10 per unit, meaning a newspaper with a circulation of 200,000 brought in $5.42 million from its Web site in 2003.

Newspaper Web Sites Average Online Revenues per Unit of Print Circulation, 2003 Circulation

GroupingOnline Revenue ($)

Source: Borrell Associates, May 2004

TV stations do not earn the kind of money newspapers have from online advertising. The average TV market earned $0.28 per local TV household, which translates into about $140,000 worth of revenue for a market of about 500,000 TV households, such as Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Stations in smaller markets earned more per TV household viewer than in larger markets, $0.63 to $0.16 per TV household, respectively. Larger markets such as New York, Los Angeles and other major metropolitan areas, have significantly more viewers, so their revenues greatly exceeded those of smaller markets.

Average Online Revenues to TV Stations, 2003 Market Rank

Revenue ($)
Markets 1-20$997,078
Markets 21-50400, 261
Markets 51-100182,481
Markets 101-200146,968

Borrell Associates Inc., May 2004

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