2007 was the worst year in terms of print ad revenue for American newspapers since record keeping began in 1950. Here are the main facts & figures to bear in mind from the Newspaper Association of America’s last report (tables here )
– Print advertising plunged 9.4% to $42.2bn from $46.6bn in 2006
– Losses are greater in the classified (-16.5%) than in any other area
– Internet revenue are jumping by 19% to $3.17bn
– In advertising dollars, the online gain (+$0.5bn) is peanuts compared to the total loss in print (-$4.4bn), classified loss (-$2.8bn) or the combination of national + retail ad (-$1.6bn).
– Cost cutting initiatives (in newsroom for example) won’t offset the ad and classified erosion.
Overall : for all indicators, the decline is worst than expected 18 months ago.Deterioration will continue this year (Bloomberg is mentioning a 20% drop in ads for McClatchy’s two biggest markets, California and Florida). Even if we remove the effect of the looming recession, transfers to the Internet are nothing compared to the deterioration of print. This is mostly due to poor per-reader monetization. The S&P Publishing Index reflects the situation: it lost 44% from its peak in June 2007 . And debt figures won’t help. Publishing-related bonds are falling sharply as explains Alan Mutter on his blog.
> read also David Carr’s column in the New York Times on the displeasure of newspapers owners.