In January, advertising revenues fell 3.6 percent at the Times, while ad pages dropped 7.4 percent at USA Today and 5.1 percent at the Journal, according to estimates released by the publishers.
While the rates of erosion are much more moderate than national papers were experiencing at the height of the advertising recession in 2001 and 2002, the January roll back comes after the papers were showing stability at year-end 2003. The Times' ad revenues rose 1.4 percent for calendar 2003, though its ad pages declined 3.8 percent. USA Today's ad revenues rose 4.0 percent and its pages increased 1.0 percent during 2003. The Journal's ad volume erosion dropped to just 1.3 percent for 2003.
National Newspaper Advertising Trends
---January '04--- ---Full-Year '03---
Ad $ Ad Pages Ad $ Ad Pages
New York Times -3.6% NA +1.4% -3.8%
USA Today +2.2% -7.4% +4.0% +1.0%
Wall Street Journal NA -5.1% NA -1.3%
Source: Company reports. NA = Not available.