Newspaper ad revenues dropped by 6% last year, marking the 7th consecutive year of declines after a 7.3% fall last year, per new figures from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). But, reflecting a changing composition of revenues that has moved beyond advertising and circulation trends only, the NAA has moved to a new method of revenue reporting. And those results contain some positive signs for the industry: overall revenue for US newspapers fell by a more modest 2% last year, as various other sources saw gains.
These new sources, which include digital consulting for local business and e-commerce transactions, grew by 8% last year, and now account for a significant 8% of total revenues. Given their size, the NAA is now collecting and releasing data about these sources, giving the the newspaper industry a more comprehensive revenue profile.
Based on figures provided by 17 companies that represent roughly 40% of the weekday print circulation in the US and close to half of all newspaper media revenue, the NAA estimates that of the $38.6 billion in total newspaper revenue last year:
- $18.9 billion was from print advertising (46% share), down 9% year-over-year;
- $3.4 billion was from digital advertising (11% share), up 4%;
- $2.9 billion was from direct marketing, niche and non-daily publications (8% share combined), down 5%, 1%, and 6%, respectively;
- $10.4 billion was from circulation revenues (27% share), up 5%; and
- $3 billion was from “new” revenue sources (8% share), up 8%.
The NAA study also breaks down the new revenue sources into various segments. While the data doesn’t show each segment’s contribution to overall revenue, year-over-year trends are provided by some of the participating companies. These trends show that among the new sources:
- Revenue from digital agency and marketing services grew by 91%;
- E-commerce and transaction revenue increased by 20%;
- Revenue from event marketing dropped by 9%;
- Commercial delivery revenues slipped by 2%;
- Revenues from commercial printing dipped by 3%; and
- The aggregate of other categories – such as royalties, licensing and rental activities – fell by 3%.