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Newspaper Ad Slump Easing?

The advertising slump at the nation's newspapers may finally be bottoming out, with July revenue results not quite as bad, when compared to prior months, according to John Janedis, an analyst at Wachovia Equity Research. In the papers he tracks, ad revenue fell about 7.2% for the month, an improvement over June, which was down 7.5% and May, where the drop was 8.1%.

Still, "based on anecdotal comments from industry contacts, the trajectory of ad improvement in [the fourth quarter] will likely disappoint," he says. Retail classified advertising had the worst monthly number he has ever seen -- down 18.3% --largely as a result of the woes in the real-estate market.

Looking ahead, Janedis see mixed trends so far at The New York Times, with some real-estate classified and telecommunications ads growing, while department stores and movies pull back. And he points out an improvement in page counts at The Wall Street Journal, now down in the low single digits.



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