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For the second quarter of 2009, total newspaper ad sales fell 29% to $6.8 billion, down from $9.6 billion last year, according to Q2 figures released by the Newspaper Association of America.?

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As? evidence of the continued toll the recession is taking on the industry, online ad sales were significantly affected again this quarter, slipping 16% to $653 million. Online newspaper advertising declined 1.8% in all of 2008, but tumbled more than 13% in Q109.

Print Takes Hardest Hit

Total print advertising totaled $6.2 billion, a decline of 30% over the same period last year. Within the print category, national ads fell nearly 30%, while retail ads fell nearly 25%.

Classifieds ads took the biggest hit within the print category, falling a total of 40%. Job recruitment classifed ads declined 66%, the worst slide of any classified category. Automotive classifieds fell 43%, while real estate classifieds fell 46% for the quarter, the NAA said.

Newspaper ad losses have grown worse in each of the last 12 quarters, experiencing the worst declines in newspaper history, reports Media Buyer Planner.

For the first half, ad revenue fell 29%, to $13.4 billion. Ad revenue fell 28% in the first quarter.

The numbers, give perspective to what John Sturm, chief executive of the association, calls “a terrible stretch of bad road,” writes Mediaweek.

Newspaper industry execs hope the newspaper ad downturn hit bottom in the second quarter, and that the freshening economy will push advertisers to begin spending again, particularly as the holiday season approaches, Media Buyer Planner said.

Sturm says that as advertisers return to spending, newspapers will be “extremely well positioned” to harness the strength of print and digital platforms.

Outsell analyst Ken Doctor said, in a recent report, that newspapers have failed to move fast enough in the transition from print to digital revenue, and it is this failure that has helped speed their decline.

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