Total newspaper advertising revenue dove 28% in Q309 compared with the same quarter in 2008, falling from $10.1 billion to about $6.4 billion, according to the most recent figures released by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).
Classifieds plunged 64.7%, while real estate and auto both saw 43% declines, the NAA said.
Online Takes Hit Too
Print was not the only area to see revenue plunge, according to the data.? Online revenues fell 17%, from $750 million in the same quarter last year to $623 million this year.
This is the 14th straight quarter of revenue declines; online revenue has fallen for six quarters straight.
“Given the depressed state of the overall economy, and earlier third-quarter financial reporting by publicly traded newspaper companies, the Q3 industry-wide advertising revenue summary should come as no surprise,” said NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm in a statement where he acknowledged the steep declines but said that some categories showed slight improvement. “These numbers are in line with most expectations, and even show some modest directional improvement in key categories like retail and national.”
Sturm also added that, despite these declines, newspapers continue to look to the future and and continue to transform? business models to position themselves as top players in a “multiplatform media universe,” as the economy continues to improve.
Paid vs. Free?
As ad revenue declines, the debate about paid vs. free content online continues.
In what appeared to be a mixed blessing for subscription-based online news models, a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group found that US readers are only willing to pay about $3/month to receive news on their personal computers and mobile device.
The Boston Globe last week unveiled a paid digital product for $4.98/month, which enables news users to read it either online or via e-readers. Meanwhile, News Corp has announced it will no longer allow Google to index its content on Google News.
Yet despite the turmoil in the newspaper industry, most Americans admit to still reading them – either in print or online form. According to Scarborough Research’s latest Integrated Newspaper Audience study, 74% of American adults – or 171 million people – either read a newspaper or visit a newspaper website at least once a week.