New Revenue Sources Help Offset Decline in Newspaper Ad Spend

April 9, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Newspapers | Retail & E-Commerce

NAA-Newspaper-Revenue-2012-v-2011-Apr2013Newspaper 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%.

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