Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Newspaper Ad Revenues Continue To Fall - 25% In Q3

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 20, 2009

Newspaper ad revenues continue to fall and at a pace not seen since the Depression. The New York Times reports that Q3 ad revenues are expected to be 25% below the same period a year ago.

The drop in combined print and digital ad revenue last year, 16.6 percent, according to the Newspaper Association of America, was the worst since the Depression. But it looks rosy next to 2009, when revenue fell 28.3 percent in the first quarter and 29 percent in the second.
Newspapers Have Not Hit Bottom, Analysts Say - NYTimes.com

Foremski's Take: This is bad news for newspaper companies because they have already made many cuts in staff and other expenses. There isn't much more they can do.

Charging for online news is unlikely to stem losses.

And it is not just print advertising that is in decline. Newspaper companies are also reporting lower ad revenues from their online operations. Their transition from print to online offers them no hope of better times.

Although the future looks bleak for newspaper companies, the future for news journalism doesn't have to be tied to demise of newspapers.

It should be possible to build new types of news organizations that are focused on solid journalistic practices and the distribution of news through many online channels and in a variety of formats.

However, the transition period will be unpleasant and we can expect to see more large newspaper closures and thousands more layoffs.

In the meantime, top blogger Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic has asked his readers to buy subscriptions to the print version of the magazine.

Within two days after last Monday's post, Mr. Sullivan's appeal pulled in 75 percent of the subscriptions that the Web site draws in a typical month, the magazine's publisher, Jay Lauf, said. The Atlantic expects this month's subscription orders to be double an average month's.
Atlantic Blogger Andrew Sullivan Makes Pitch for Supporting Print - NYTimes.com

Unfortunately, having bloggers pitch for print is not a sustainable business model. And it's a shame people couldn't choose to buy a subscription and not receive a print version of the magazine.


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