Banner Headline: Newspapers Beat October '02's Banner Political Ad Results

A year after the newspaper industry enjoyed a banner month in political ad spending, U.S. newspapers turned in surprisingly strong October 2003 advertising results. All major ad categories, with the exception of classifieds, showed healthy growth, according to a MediaDailyNews compilation of monthly revenue data from 10 publicly traded newspaper companies.

As a whole, newspaper ad revenues increased 4 percent, from $1.34 billion in October 2002 to $1.39 billion in October 2003. The growth extended to the newspapers in the MediaDailyNews index for the year so far, with a 3 percent growth through the first 10 months of the year. Year-to-date revenues were $10.9 billion in 2003, compared to $10.6 billion in 2002.

Growth was reported in all three major newspaper advertising categories, although not all of the 10 publicly disclose revenue in the subcategories by month.

October's retail index was up 2 percent, from $463.08 million in October 2002 to $471.54 million a year later. Two companies, Journal Register and E.W. Scripps, reported a slight drop in retail revenues. Two others, Media General and Knight Ridder, were flat. Others were up slightly.

National revenues were up 13 percent, although most were growing from a smaller base because national advertising is not a large portion of revenues for smaller and regional newspapers. And classified, which have been under pressure from help wanted but bolstered by gains in real estate and automotive, were up 3 percent in October 2003 and up 1 percent year-to-date.

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